Cold colonies: Antarctic spatialities at Mawson and McMurdo stations

Collis, Christy ORCID: and Stevens, Quentin (2007) Cold colonies: Antarctic spatialities at Mawson and McMurdo stations. Cultural Geographies, 14 (2). pp. 234-254. ISSN 1474-4740


In 1954, a small team of Australian men landed at Horseshoe Harbor and began constructing Mawson Station: the permanent colonization of Antarctica was initiated. Two years later, Americans began the construction of their major Antarctic base, McMurdo. Although Antarctica is routinely represented as an empty wilderness, over the last fifty years, tens of thousands of humans have occupied the continent, most of them living in Antarctica’s 40 national bases. What kinds of spaces are these Antarctican colonial settlements? How do they function materially, ideologically, legally, and, important for this article, spatially? This article explores the anatomy of two of the oldest and most populous of these spaces, Mawson and McMurdo stations: it attends to their physical environments and to the geopolitical epistemologies that shape them; it is thus a study of two distinct Antarctican spatialities. This article is part of a larger endeavor to account for the heterogeneous cultural geographies of the polar south. It works towards a definition of contemporary colonialism in its Antarctican context. In a previously-uninhabited continent governed by scientific internationalism, yet subject to disputed territorial claims and conflicting geopolitical spaces, colonialism takes on specific localized forms; this article attends to the unique colonial spatialities of two key Antarctican settlements.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2022 04:23
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2022 04:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: Antarctica; Colonialism; Spatiality
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440601 Cultural geography
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past
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