January 24, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Dr. Margery Fee

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


***VIEW SEMINAR HERE (starts at 04:00min)***


“Polarizing Bears” and the Climate Change Debate



Polar bears became poster children for carbon reduction initiatives around 2006, when an animated polar bear failing to climb on a melting ice floe featured in Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Once icons of predatory ferocity, polar bears were promptly transformed into delicate victims. Scientists warned of their declining numbers. Greenpeace protestors in polar bear costumes marched to protest global warming. However, one influential voice managed to turn the polar bear into a platform for arguing against human-caused climate change. And many Inuit, who do not deny climate change, argue that polar bear numbers are increasing.  Although it is clear that without Arctic ice, polar bears will not survive, their use as icons of global warming raises questions about colonial attitudes, climate activism, and the differences between Inuit attitudes to other-than-human animals and those of the mainstream.


Dr. Margery Fee












Margery Fee is an Emeritus Professor of English at UBC. Her book on polar bears for Reaktion Press’s Animal series will appear this year. Her most recent other books are Literary Land Claims: The ‘Indian Land Question’ from Pontiac’s War to Attiwapiskatand, with Dory Nason, Tekahionwake: E. Pauline Johnson’s Writings on Native North America, both published in 2015.







Photo Credit: Alejandra Echeverri, IRES PhD Candidate