The Agency of Ice

Jen Rose Smith, on her new book-in-progress:

… as a substance, ice has agency and it is an entity that moves and shapes and responds to the world. We don’t just act upon ice, ice is also making decisions of its own accord. In that sense, I’m thinking about what ice does offer, just by virtue of existing in all of its movements, shapes, and conditions, to thinkers, intellectuals, scholars, etc. for thinking about relations of power. I’m interested in critical analyses of race, and indigeneity, thinking about these constant struggles over territory and sovereignty, especially again, as ice is changing shape and moving, particularly in Arctic spaces. And thinking of that, in this final prong, I’m interested in how ice then complicates these questions of boundaries and borders. Ice is pushing out these neat containers, of land, of ocean, of the concept of roots and tides, as it moves and offers these different ways of organizing the world.

There’s a line in Bathsheba Demuth’s book where she mentions that in the face of climate change people of the Arctic will never again feel cold like they have in the past. It’s an arresting and tragic line, and has me thinking about cold and ice a lot these days.

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