The original aim of the History Action Group was to obtain insight into the development of how Antarctic research was institutionalized within SCAR. The goal was to study to what degree research in the Antarctic has been driven by scientific criteria and to what extent compromises were made in the light of political barriers and logistical limitations. It was the only group offering the unique opportunity of sharing archival work referring to Antarctic history with personal experiences of polar researchers from all continents. Membership was open to anyone interested in the history of Antarctic research - polar historians, historians, polar veterans, polar researchers and other scholars ranging from undergraduate students up to retired professors from all over the world.
The sharing of knowledge and ideas produces very lively and fruitful discussions. The History Group became an Expert Group in 2010, and acted as a meeting place for scholars working on the history of the Antarctic from diverse perspectives, with an overt focus on involving junior scholars and fostering collaboration among group members. The group held many workshops and its work contributed directly to the work of several PhD students. This work is continued through the Standing Committee on Humanities and Social Sciences.
To honour the work in history of polar research a speaker is chosen each year to give the Lewander Lecture during a workshop or conference.
History Group Workshops, from 2005 to 2012
- 1st Meeting of the History Action Group, Munich (Germany), 2005
- 2nd Meeting of SCAR History Action Group, Santiago (Chile), 2006
- 3rd Meeting of the SCAR History Action Group, Columbus (Ohio, USA), 2007
- 4th Meeting of the SCAR History Action Group, St. Petersburg (Russia), 2008
- 5th Meeting of SCAR History Action Group, Washington D.C. (USA), 2009
- SCAR History Action Group sessions in Buenos Aires and Oslo, 2010
- History Workshops in 2011
- 8th Meeting of SCAR History Expert Group, Portland (USA), 2012
From 2013, the History and Humanities and Social Sciences Groups met jointly. See the Humanities and Social Sciences Meetings page for more information.
Criteria for the selection of oral presentations during meetings
- The paper must conform to the session description.
- The paper must represent a novel contribution (for example new findings, sources, topics, methods or study areas) and be of a high academic standard.
- If criteria (1) and (2) are both met, further criteria regarding speakers will be applied:
- Age and previous experience. Early career scholars and those who have not previously taken part in a SCAR Open Science Conference should be given priority for an oral presentation.
- Gender. Female speakers must be represented.
- Language. Speakers from non-native English speaking countries must be represented.
- Applications for oral submissions that meet the eligibility criteria but cannot be accommodated in the main program will be offered a poster slot."
Terms of Reference for the History Group were:
"The Expert Group will continue to act as a meeting place for scholars working on the history of the Antarctic from diverse perspectives, with an overt focus on involving junior scholars and fostering collaboration among Group members. The Expert Group’s meetings will also help facilitate the sharing of research materials, including newly-collected oral histories and newly-released archival sources. The geographical diversity of the Group’s membership will permit material from around the globe to be accessed, from North and South America to Africa, Australasia, Europe (eastern and western) and Russia."