On a hot summer day in 1897, Robert E. Peary—the most famed explorer of his day—docked in Brooklyn with the outrageous cargo he’d brought for his financiers at the American Museum of Natural History: six living Inuit, including six-year-old Minik. A century later Peary’s great grandchild attempts to rediscover the connections between himself, his great grandfather, and Minik. Staffan Julén’s fascinating The Prize of the Pole is a disturbing yet beautiful story that combines archival materials and the breathtaking wonders of Greenland to show the heart-wrenching costs of American expansionism. The screening will be followed by a discussion examining the sexual and gendered fault lines that have been written out of Julén’s script but nevertheless were an integral part of the erotics of what constituted Victorian “science” at the end of the 19th century.
Lisa Bloom is the author of three books, including Gender on Ice: American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions, to date the only critical book on the Arctic and Antarctic written from a feminist perspective.