Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North

Article excerpt

Timothy B. Leduc, Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2011), 288 pp. Paper. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-7766- 0750-4.

Before reading this book I feared that the author might have a romantic and unproblematic notion of Inuit culture in which solutions to the challenge of climate change might be found. This fear was quickly dispelled, and Leduc is critical of those who present Inuit culture in an essentialist or romantic manner. He is also careful when defining his terms - the term Inuit Qaujimatuqangit (IQ) is best translated as 'Inuit knowledge'. Gaia, Sila and Sedna are used liberally in the text though with an awareness that these terms are highly contested and differently appropriated by Inuit themselves as well as by Western academics and other commentators. For instance, Sila is used on some occasions to describe a 'force' or 'spirit' which upholds the universe and on others simply as a translation for the word 'weather'. Sedna refers to a powerful spirit (gendered as female) which can change the Sila and 'make animals disappear so that people go hungry' (p. 180). On occasions Leduc challenges previous understandings which seem contrary to those of his Inuit informants.

The overarching theme of the book is that an interdisciplinary approach which engages with both scientific and cultural discourses is required to address the challenge of climate change. …

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