Edited by Susan A. Kaplan, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center,
and Robert McCracken Peck, Curator of Art and Artifacts & Senior Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic Exploration is a volume of papers on the history of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Arctic exploration. The authors have contextualized expeditions, examining the social, cultural, technological, and environmental settings in which exploration endeavors were conceived, carried out, described, and understood by the public. Honoring the hundredth anniversary of Robert E. Peary's historic 1908-09 North Pole Expedition and recognizing the third International Polar Year (2007-09) served as a starting point for a conference designed to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines whose work touches on different facets of Arctic exploration. Susan A. Kaplan (The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College) and Robert McCracken Peck (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) joined forces, and invited the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science (PACHS) and the American Philosophical Society to partner with them in Philadelphia in May 2008. The papers in this volume are a subset of those presented at that gathering and are authored by scholars from various disciplines, including English, art history, anthropology, archaeology, history, ethnohistory, and Native American studies. The papers cast light on aspects of exploration initiatives not examined in most biographies of explorers, official expedition narratives, or overviews of the history of Arctic exploration.