2021_Seminar Guest: Johannes Riquet


For this seminar WONA invited Johannes Riquet, Professor of English Literature at Tampere University and principal investigator of the research project Mediated Arctic Geographies. Mediated Arctic Geographies studies the poetics and politics of Arctic geography in contemporary fiction and art. It investigates how Arctic geospheres are aesthetically shaped and mediated to become vehicles of environmental, (geo)political and social concerns. Reading contemporary literature, film and art against the background of earlier Arctic discourses, it examines global anxieties and fantasies projected onto the High North as well as artistic perspectives on lived experience in the circumpolar world – and connects these present-day imaginaries with a long history of imaginative investment in the spaces of the Arctic.

During the seminar it was specifically discussed how inter- and transdisciplinarity unfolds in the research project. It also discussed the methodological and theoretical approaches to visual art when researchers co-write articles from different disciplines, here in particular in relation to the project’s forthcoming publication The Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Arctic Geographies (working title).

Johannes Riquet is the author of The Aesthetics of Island Space: Perception, Ideology, Geopoetics (OUP, 2019) and the co-editor of Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries (Routledge, 2018) as well as Imaging Identity: Text, Mediality and Contemporary Visual Culture (Palgrave, 2019). He is the head of the research group “Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities” at Tampere University and a founding member of the international research group “Island Poetics”. Alongside the project, he is also working on a monograph on interrupted railway journeys in British and American literature and film.

His research interests include representations of Arctic, island narratives, railway journeys in literature and visual culture, theories of space and place, travel writing, cinema, cultural geography, and phenomenology. Johannes has written a number of articles and book chapters on Arctic imaginaries, including the essay “Islands Erased by Snow and Ice: Approaching the Spatial Philosophy of Cold Water Island Imaginaries” (2016), a chapter on Arctic geopolitics and visual culture entitled “Cinema, Geopolitics, and Arctic Landscapes: The Cold Cold War in Orion’s Belt” (forthcoming in Shimmering Worlds: Conditions of Arctic Visuality, ed. Markku Lehtimäki, Arja Rosenholm and Vlad Strukov, Routledge), and a chapter on recent utopian and dystopian climate change narratives set in Greenland, “Frozen Futures or Tropical Greenland? Climate Change Arctopias in Cold Earth (2009) and Allatta! 2040 (2015)” (forthcoming in Nordic Utopias and Dystopias, ed. Pia Maria Ahlbäck et al., John Benjamins). He also guest edited a thematic section on Ice and islands in the most recent issue of the journal Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures.

In addition to his academic engagement with the Arctic, Johannes has a personal interest in Northern cultures, languages and landscapes, though he is of Southern (Swiss, French and German) origin. Johannes can communicate in several languages spoken in the North - Kalaallisut (or Western Greenlandic), Finnish, and Norwegian - and is currently learning Inuktitut.