Empire and Exploration in the Antarctic: A Shift from the Horizontal to the Vertical

Travis Carioscia, Michael Reidy, Department of History and Philosophy, Montana State University, Culbertson Hall, 100, Bozeman, MT 59717

Antarctica has long been a continent shrouded in mystery, intertwined with Imperial expansion and scientific advancement.  This paper will show how Antarctic exploration shifted from horizontal exploration fueled largely by British heroism and Imperial glory, to vertical exploration in the name of scientific advancement and adventure tourism.  It will do so by looking through the lenses of multiple Antarctic expeditions. From James Ross’ seafaring expedition in 1840 through the “Golden Age of Antarctic Expeditions” in the early 1900s with Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, all the way up to modern tourism and scientific expeditions into the mountains of ice with Conrad Anker.  The shift from horizontal to vertical orientation is important not only because it portrays a change in ideology, but also because it helped foster changes in international political policy in the form of the Antarctic Treaty System of 1961. As a result of these new policies, Antarctica is currently a center of International scientific cooperation with over thirty countries sending personnel to various research bases on the continent.  It has also seen an increasing commercialization of its landscape as a destination for extreme climbing. By viewing the exploration of Antarctica through its vertical rather than horizontal dimension, a new understanding is gleaned of its past history and present significance. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Travis Carioscia

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Oral

Subject: History

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 729
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