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Fictional Representations of Antarctic Tourism and Climate Change: To the Ends of the World


Nielsen, H, Fictional Representations of Antarctic Tourism and Climate Change: To the Ends of the World, Postcolonial Literatures of Climate Change, Brill, R McDougall, J Ryan and P Reynolds (ed), Leiden, pp. 334-360. ISBN 9789004514171 (2022) [Research Book Chapter]

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Antarctica is sliced off the bottom of most Mercator maps, with the southern latitudes banished beyond the margins. Yet the continent is home to a thriving tourism industry, with over 50,000 people heading south for leisure each summer season. As Elizabeth Leane puts it, "Antarctica, which for centuries has for most people functioned primarily as a symbol, is now an expensive but nonetheless feasible travel destination." Promoted through tourism, Antarctica has become a commodity in its own right. And yet, when it comes to climate change, Antarctic tourism raises a paradox: by carrying people to view the regions that are affected by anthropogenic warming, ships actively contribute to further greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions in turn have global effects, leading to ocean acidification, warming average temperatures, disruption of sea ice formation and sea level rise. In seeking to experience untouched wilderness, tourists are helping to bring about its demise. Authors such as Bulgarian-German writer and translator Ilija Trojanow (born 1965) have explored these complex relationships between humans, ice and travel in their fiction. Trojanow’s novel The Lamentations of Zeno (2011) re-centres Antarctica. It invites readers to see the continent as part of wider global systems of labour, power, and climate, and to reflect ecocritically on their own relationship with the ice at the ends of the earth.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Antarctica, tourism, literature, German, postcolonial, climate change
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Literature in German
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Nielsen, H (Dr Hanne Nielsen)
ID Code:135566
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-11-01
Last Modified:2022-11-22

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