Past Events

Thinking with Ice: Climate & Colonialism Reading Group


  • 21 June 2023
  • 4:00 – 5:30 pm
  • Online

The Climate & Colonialism Reading Group is part of the multi-year Climate & Colonialism project led by Dr Sria Chatterjee at the PMC.

Event hosted by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in collaboration with Anisha Palat and Eszter Erdosi (PhD candidates in history of art at the University of Edinburgh).

In this session, titled “Thinking with Ice”, we will discuss the politics and history of ice in relation to coloniality, trade and its relations to climate. We will use the following texts to “think with ice” as being part of a larger colonial project:

  • Hobart, Hi′ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani, “Introduction” (available via Duke University Press) and “Chapter 2: Vice, Virtue, and Frozen Necessities in the Sovereign City”, in Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment, 1–20 and 47–70. Elements. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2022).
  • Ashutosh, Ishan. “Frozen Modernity: The US-India Ice Trade and the Cultures of Colonialism”. Cultural Geographies, (February 8, 2023), 14744740231154256.

Additional resources:

  • Edge Effects, “The Cold Never Bothered Native Hawaiians Anyway: A Conversation with Hi’ilei Julia Hobart”. Podcast audio. February 16, 2023.

Transcript and audio available on Edge Effects and audio available on Spotify.

This interdisciplinary reading group aims to provide a space for discussion and reflection about the role of the arts and visual cultures in discourses around climate and colonialism. It hopes to foster a dialogue that begins to question systems of oppression that have contributed to the colonial project and its relationships to ecology. The selection of texts for the reading group will foreground ecofeminist, Black, Brown and Indigenous scholarship that focuses on the intersections between the environment, extraction and colonial systems and also histories of decolonisation and speculative imaginaries of human and more-than-human ecologies. The reading group will meet once every two months. It is open to everyone.

This event will be online only.

For further details, and to hear about future reading group events, please sign up to the mailing list here.

Cooling the Tropics is available at the Paul Mellon Centre library. If you cannot access the book chapter or have any further questions, please write to the organisers: [email protected] or [email protected].