Sylvia Wynter in the Arctic: early modern expeditionary narratives and the construction of "man"

Wedderburn, A. (2023) Sylvia Wynter in the Arctic: early modern expeditionary narratives and the construction of "man". Cambridge Review of International Affairs, (doi: 10.1080/09557571.2023.2273371) (Early Online Publication)

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This article locates Martin Frobisher’s voyages to the North American Arctic in 1576, 1577 and 1578 in relation to the thought of Jamaican critic and theorist Sylvia Wynter. For Wynter, the post-Columbian settlement and colonisation of the Americas functioned as both a crucible and proving ground for a new, racialised understanding of the human, which she calls ‘Man’. Focusing on expeditionary narratives written by sailors on Frobisher’s three voyages to Baffin Island, the article treats these narratives as examples of travel writing, a genre occupying the mobile, labile threshold between history and fiction which has often mediated the comprehension of difference, hierarchy and (international) order. Focusing on these texts’ treatments of race and otherness, the article argues that the Arctic was a key site where the terms of relationality governing English interaction with the so-called ‘New World’ and its people were hesitatingly, clumsily and often violently worked out.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Sylvia Wynter, race, Blackness, coloniality, empire, Arctic, travel writing.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wedderburn, Dr Alister
Authors: Wedderburn, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Cambridge Review of International Affairs
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1474-449X
Published Online:18 October 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright: © 2023 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Cambridge Review of International Affairs 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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