October 9, 2013 - 2:38am

Jay Ruzesky, a professor in VIU’s English department, was raised on cold Canadian winters and stories of his famous ancestor, Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who first discovered the South Pole in December 1911. Ruzesky felt a kinship to Amundsen as a young man, and set upon dreaming of his own journey to the Pole one day.

One hundred years after his ancestor’s discovery, Professor Ruzesky travelled to Antarctica to honour Amundsen’s achievement. Upon his return, he documented his journey in a memoir entitled: In Antarctica: An Amundsen Pilgrimage.

Ruzesky, who teaches English, Creative Writing and Film Studies at VIU, will speak about his experiences in Antarctica on Friday, Oct. 18 as he presents, “Amundsen Then and Now: The End of the Age of Heroic Exploration.” The illustrated presentation will be the second session in the Fall 2013 VIU Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series. Admission is free for the presentation held in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre between 10 and 11:30 am. Refreshments will be available before the lecture, and a time for discussion and questions will follow the talk.

While Ruzesky perceives his voyage to Antarctica as a “kind of pilgrimage,” as his book title suggests, he is also intrigued by how “the very idea of exploration has changed in the century since Amundsen stood at the South Pole.”

“With satellites, computers, etc., travel to remote parts of the world is a very different thing than it once was,” Ruzesky says. “Yet the extreme geography of a place like Antarctica isolates it, to some degree, from time and human innovations.”

Ruzesky will use the Colloquium forum to share his thoughts on how Antarctic exploration, and Antarctica as a continent, has changed over the past century.

The Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series highlights research being done by VIU faculty through the presentation of free public lectures open to students and the general public. The Series continues on Friday, Nov. 22 when Dr. Gordon Hak, from the Department of History, will reflect on the question: “BC’s 1983 Solidarity Movement 30 Years on: Something for the Left to Celebrate or Best Forgotten?”

The Colloquium presentation takes place during VIU’s campus-wide Open House event Oct. 18, which includes hands-on activities, tours, displays, lectures, music, and many opportunities to meet with VIU faculty, staff and students.

For more information on the Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series, contact Dr. Timothy Lewis at (250) 753-3245 or



Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443 C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

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