Phenomenology of Light in the Arctic Environment. NEWS AND CONFERENCES

  Phenomenology of Light in the Arctic Environment: Ethnography of Expedition  

  • Title: Phenomenology of Light in the Arctic Environment: Ethnography of an Expedition
  • Researcher: Elena Adasheva (research design, fieldwork, data processing and analysis)
  • Fieldwork location: Le Commandant Charcot, Cruise No. CC270723, Longyearbyen (Norway) — 
    Geographic North Pole — Longyearbyen (Norway) 
  • Fieldwork: July 27, 2023 — August 11, 2023
  • Supported by: ARICE-PONANT, Yale Environmental Humanities Grant

The EU-funded Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE) selected this project for inclusion in the science program aboard Le Commandant Charcot, an icebreaking cruise ship operated by the French shipping company Compagnie du Ponant. This short-term ethnographic project is one of a few social science endeavors conducted aboard Le Commandant Charcot. This research explores human perceptions of light in the Arctic environment during the polar day on the expedition cruise. Through conversational interviews and informal discussions with passengers and crew, we delved into individuals' observations, experiences, and contemplations about light in the polar landscape, as well as how they articulate their perceptions. The research draws from phenomenological and sensory anthropology, along with interdisciplinary studies of light and dark. This project presents a novel focus in Arctic research and humanistic anthropology. From a practical perspective, the study could potentially be useful for planning polar expeditions in the conditions of the polar day.

March 2024. The project received the 2024 Yale Environmental Humanities Grant, which will partially cover the final stage of this work, including the transcription of interviews, organization and analysis of data, and preparation of the presentation of findings for public outreach.