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University of Canterbury

Ursula Rack web

Ursula is a New Zealand Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow (since 2018) for the project “How different countries research, collect and communicate their Antarctic history”, for which she visited archives, museums, and polar institutions in the USA, Germany and the UK. She has been awarded the Harriette Jenkins Award in 2019 to continue her studies on that project at the Hocken Library, Dunedin. Because she is bridging history and geography, she became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London. Since 2018 she has also been an Institute Associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK.

In 2012, Ursula was the first humanities/history recipient of a COMNAP (Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs) Research Fellowship for the project “Reconstructing historic Antarctic climate data from logbooks and diaries of the Heroic Era”. Subsequently, she was contracted (2015 – 2017) by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) for the National Science Challenge – Deep South to gather and assess historic ship-logbooks for weather information as a basis to reconstruct climate patterns in the Southern Ocean. Ursula is passionate about history, in particular Antarctic history, and has an extensive list of publications in English and German in peer-reviewed international journals and textbooks. She works as an Adjunct Fellow at Gateway Antarctica and is also teaching polar history in Antarctic Studies courses at the University of Canterbury since 2010.

  • Research projects / interests:
    • Historic weather data
    • Human history in the Antarctic
    • Use of diaries as a data source
    • Reconstructing historic weather data from logbooks and diaries from the Heroic Era

  • For publications visit: Ursula's website

Keywords: History, Diaries, Weather, Environment, Geopolitics