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Multilingual essay on the Imagined North

The North has been imagined and represented for centuries by artists and writers of the Western world, which has led, over time and the accumulation of successive layers of discourse, to the creation of an “imagined North” – ranging from the “North” of Scandinavia, Greenland, Russia, to the “Far North” or the poles. Westerners have reached the North Pole only a century go, which makes the “North” the product of a double perspective: an outside one – made especially of Western images – and an inside one – that of Northern cultures (Inuit, Sami, Cree, etc.). The first are often simplified and the second, ignored. If we wish to understand what the “North” is in an overall perspective, we must ask ourselves two questions: how do images define the North, and which ethical principles should govern how we consider Northern cultures in order to have a complete view (including, in particular, those that have been undervalued by the South)? In this article, I try to address these two questions, first by defining what is the imagined North and then by proposing an inclusive program to “recomplexify” the cultural Arctic.

Multilingual edition in English, but also in Norwegian, Russian, Danish, French, Swedish, and Northern Sami.

Editions of this book exist in 15 of the Northern and Arctic languages. Each edition contains a different set of 7 languages, to illustrate the diversity of languages of the North and the Arctic: in French, Inuktitut, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Northern Sami, Estonian, Finnish, Japanese, Yakut, Russian, German, Icelandic and Faroese.

This book is available in printed formal and in free digital format.

Daniel Chartier, What is the “Imagined North”? Ethical Principles, Montréal and Harstad (Norway), Imaginaire Nord and Arctic Arts Summit, “Isberg” series, 2018, 157p.

Translated into English by Christina Kannenberg.

ISBN 978-2-923385-25-9