Textual representations of Antarctica in the 21st Century

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Antarctica is a remote continent that for most is encountered vicariously, through mediums such as photography, film, and written text. These representations inform imagined versions of the place, and therefore provide rich insights into human conceptions of and relationships with Antarctica. As Antarctica has become more accessible to humans, it has also been drawn into wider debates about global climate impacts that originate far from the ice itself, and this project will draw out the various resonances associated with the white continent. The question of how the shift towards a global view of the end of the earth is reflected in the texts that circulate back home is a rich area of enquiry, and one that has relevance both for Antarctic Studies scholarship and for the wider Environmental Humanities and English literature communities.

This PhD project examines the way that Anglophone writers have responded to Antarctica in the 21st century. Building on

the supervision team’s previous research on Antarctica in literature, the project will analyse recent depictions of Antarctica on the page, contextualising these within contemporary issues such as the climate crisis, new polar powers, and the growth of the Antarctic tourism market. The project has the potential to encompass non-fiction texts, genre texts, literary texts, or a combination of these, depending on the candidate’s background, interests and experience. You will be based in one of

the world’s leading centres of interdisciplinary Antarctic research, while drawing on established expertise in the humanities. Understanding how Antarctica has been represented in texts over the past two decades will provide insights into the attitudes and public perceptions that shape human interactions with the continent.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Hanne Nielsen


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First Class Honours degree in Literature or a closely associated field
  • Demonstrated capacity in critical thinking
  • Qualitative research skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Interest in Antarctica

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Hanne Nielsen to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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