Keynote Speakers

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Prof. Sanjay Chaturvedi (Panjab University, India)


A Critical Geopolitics of the ‘Anthropocene’: Climate Universalism, Antarctic Exceptionalism and Resilient Nationalisms.

Climate is changing globally, albeit with a complex, somewhat understudied, geography underlying both the causes and consequences. What does not appear to be changing however, despite the dawn of the so-called Anthropocene, is the ‘collective’ behavior of societies, states and regimes necessary for sustainable futures. It is not a question of whether but when –perhaps sooner than later—the evolving climate change discourse at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings would be critiqued and questioned by a critical geopolitics of the Anthropocene. Such a critique interrogates its limited nature and limiting scope in terms of both ethical and geopolitical considerations around questions of knowledge, values, representation, responsibility and accountability. Climate change carries profound, physical as well as ideational implications for the Antarctic, its pronounced/proclaimed exceptionalism and the legal-political-ethical boundaries of its governance. Some of the key questions that haunt this critical [polar] social science laboratory for climate change are: What is it that is challenged or ‘threatened’ by climate change in the Antarctic: ecosystems, power-knowledge equations, national interests, interests of humankind, values, claims and rights to sovereignty? How come the powerful visualization of Antarctica and its ecosystems at the ‘receiving end’ of climate change, with far reaching regional and global implications, has so far failed to act as a catalyst for individual and collective behavioral change? After all, Antarctic Treaty states include the biggest polluters of the atmosphere. Can the current Antarctic climate discourse be broadened, deepened and reconfigured to give voice to global periphery, especially in Global South? If so, how? If not, why not?


Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi is Professor of Political Science at the Centre for the Study of Geopolitics, Panjab University, India. He specializes in theories and practices of Geopolitics and IR, with special reference to Polar Regions and the Indian Ocean Region. He was awarded the Nehru Centenary British Fellowship to pursue post-doctoral research at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), University of Cambridge, England (December 1991 to January 1993), which was followed by a highly coveted Leverhulme Research Grant of £55,000 (June 1993 to June 1995). While at the SPRI, he visited Antarctica, lecturing on board MS Alla Tarasova (Quark Expeditions, Canada) from 15 November-5 December 1994.

Chaturvedi is the Regional Editor of The Polar Journal (Routledge) and Member, International Executive Committee (ex officio) SCAR Antarctic Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group (Geopolitics). He was invited to deliver the Keynote on ‘Antarctic Science and Policy Advice in a Changing World’, the central theme of the SCAR Open Science Conference at University of Portland, USA, on 16 July 2012. He is the author of The Polar Regions: A Political Geography, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1996; Dawning of Antarctica: A Geopolitical Analysis, New Delhi: Segment, 1990. His recent publications include ‘Climate Terror: A Critical Geopolitics of Climate Change, Palgrave Macmillan 2015 (co-authored with Timothy Doyle) and Environmental Sustainability from the Himalayas to the Oceans: Struggles and Innovations in China and India, Springer, 2017 (co-edited with Shikui Dong and Jayanta Bandyopadhyay). Chaturvedi is a Member of the Core Group of Experts on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean Affairs, constituted by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, since its inception in 2004. He has served on the Indian delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs). He is a Current Selection Committee Member for the 2017 ‘Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica.’

Anne Noble_ portrait

Distinguished Prof. Anne Noble ONZM (Massey University, New Zealand)


EYES ON ANTARCTICA: Towards a critical imaginary for an environment at risk.

Antarctica and the Arctic are poignant markers of the impact of climate change in the 21st Century. While there is a growing awareness of the fragility of these environments, photography continues to interpret Antarctica as an iconic wilderness or the site of heroic human endeavour, representations that are unwittingly informed by 19th and 20th century European literary narratives and visual conventions. In this presentation I will discuss the relationship between photography, narrative and affect in the development and resolution of a series of photographic books and exhibitions made between 2001 and 2017. Each of these projects is the outcome of a search for new images and metaphors that provide a critical and imaginative frame through which to consider our relationship to Antarctica and our part in its rapid transformation.


Anne Noble is Distinguished Professor of Fine Art (Photography) at Massey University, Wellington. Her lens based practice spans landscape, documentary, and installations that incorporate both still and moving images. Antarctica has been a particular focus for more than a decade, an extension of her interest in how perception and cognition contribute to a sense of place. She has made three visits to Antarctica, the most recent in 2008, to complete numerous photographic book and exhibition projects including: Ice Blink (2011), The Last Road (2014), and Whiteout / Whitenoise (2016). In 2009 she received an Arts Foundation Laureate award in recognition of her contribution to the visual arts in New Zealand. She was the recipient of a 2014 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to develop her current still photographic and video installation projects concerned with the decline of the honeybee and human relationships to natural biological systems.  

4946 Raising the Bar

Prof. Tim Stephens (University of Sydney, Australia)


The Antarctic Treaty and the Anthropocene.

Despite Antarctica’s isolation, the Anthropocene’s signature is inscribed deeply there, from the ozone hole etched in the southern sky to the cleaving of the ice shelves into the southern ocean. The Antarctic Treaty sought to quarantine Antarctica from the nuclear technologies that heralded the advent of the Anthropocene, and the Antarctic Treaty System is imbued with the romantic ideal of Antarctica as a pristine wilderness that needs only to be left alone to be protected. But in the Anthropocene it is the global forces let loose by human hands that are transforming Antarctica rather than any activities on the continent itself. What does this mean for our legal imaginings of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean? What might an Antarctic legal regime that understands and responds to the challenges of the Anthropocene look like?


Tim Stephens is Professor of International Law and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney Law School and President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. Tim teaches and researches in international law and has published extensively on the law of the sea, international environmental law, and the polar regions. His recent works include Antarctica in International Law (Hart, 2015; co-edited with Ben Saul), The International Law of the Sea (Hart, 2nd ed 2016, co-written with Donald R Rothwell) and Polar Oceans Governance in an Era of Environmental Change (Edward Elgar, 2015, co-edited with David L VanderZwaag). Tim’s Future Fellowship research project is examining the implications of the Anthropocene for international law.