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Do You See Ice?

Inuit and Americans at Home and Away

Karen Routledge

Do You See Ice?

Karen Routledge

Publication supported by the Bevington Fund

272 pages | 43 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018   
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780226580135 Published December 2018
E-book $10.00 to $50.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226580272 Published December 2018
Many Americans imagine the Arctic as harsh, freezing, and nearly uninhabitable. The living Arctic, however—the one experienced by native Inuit and others who work and travel there—is a diverse region shaped by much more than stereotype and mythology. Do You See Ice? presents a history of Arctic encounters from 1850 to 1920 based on Inuit and American accounts, revealing how people made sense of new or changing environments.

Routledge vividly depicts the experiences of American whalers and explorers in Inuit homelands. Conversely, she relates stories of Inuit who traveled to the northeastern United States and were similarly challenged by the norms, practices, and weather they found there. Standing apart from earlier books of Arctic cultural research—which tend to focus on either Western expeditions or Inuit life—Do You See Ice? explores relationships between these two groups in a range of northern and temperate locations. Based on archival research and conversations with Inuit Elders and experts, Routledge’s book is grounded by ideas of home: how Inuit and Americans often experienced each other’s countries as dangerous and inhospitable, how they tried to feel at home in unfamiliar places, and why these feelings and experiences continue to resonate today.

The author intends to donate all royalties from this book to the Elders’ Room at the Angmarlik Center in Pangnirtung, Nunavut.
Prologue: On the Ice

1: Americans in Cumberland Sound
2: Inuit in the United States
3: Americans and Inuit in the High Arctic
4: Inuit in Cumberland Sound
Epilogue: At Home
Appendix: Methodological Essay
Works Cited
Review Quotes
“Recommended. . . Routledge’s finely detailed narrative makes good use of archival sources and interviews. . . . Routledge’s skill as a storyteller makes this book a pleasure. This account will have lasting value as contemporary Inuit struggle against a deepening tide of outside colonialism.”
Arctic Book Review
“Routledge has written an extraordinary book, and she’s managed it by making a seemingly slight adjustment to the cultural spectacles through which the Arctic and its peoples, and those from elsewhere who have sojourned there, have been seen in their worlds, both familiar and strange. . . . She accomplishes this feat, remarkably, by making a sense of displacement her main theme.”
Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation
Do You See Ice? is a true landmark in interdisciplinary cultural history, melding imaginative, intrepid research with bold, fresh interpretation. In fascinating detail, Routledge illuminates two radically different ways of life in collaboration and conflict. No one has written more compellingly about the varying cultural meanings of space, time, and home. I am filled with admiration for this humane and pioneering book.”
Christopher Trott, University of Manitoba
“Routledge has overcome one of the difficulties in writing history—relating the historical events of the nineteenth century to the lives of people today—while also achieving what few other scholars have attempted: combining sound historical research with the contemporary voice of Inuit.  Her finely nuanced book brings out the texture of similarities and differences between Inuit and American sensibilities of home. Living history indeed!”
Ann Fabian, author of The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead
“Weaving together stories told by Inuit men and women with those set down by white men who chased whales, wealth, and adventure, Do You See Ice? lets us consider what it has meant to travel, to be lost, to be homesick, and finally, to be home.”
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