My name is Joanna Kafarowski. I’m a Canadian independent scholar with the best of both worlds; I live in a sunny warm place, the Spanish colonial town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, but write about the poles!

I received my PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada where my research focused on Inuit women, contaminants and decision-making. For many years I specialized in gender, resource management and the Arctic and in that capacity worked on several international Arctic Council projects with circumpolar women as well as with provincial and national governments and NGOs including Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association.

My current passion is researching and writing biographies of remarkable female polar explorers whose stories remain largely unknown. I had heard a little about Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972) while working in the Arctic- that she had joined the desperate 1928 mission to locate the iconic Norwegian Roald Amundsen and that she had conducted extensive fieldwork in Greenland in the 1930’s. I was eager to learn more.

To my chagrin, no comprehensive biography of her existed and so I determined to undertake this task. Ten years later, my book was published. After an extensive book tour that included three trips as guest lecturer for a polar cruising company travelling around Greenland, Jan Mayen Land and Svalbard by sea, I have now started on my next project. I am now working on the first biography of Antarctic pioneer Jackie Ronne (1919-2009). Jackie Ronne was the first woman participant in an Antarctic expedition and the first woman to step onto this continent. I’m only in the early stages but the work is fascinating!

If you’d like to learn more about me, please visit:






Linked In

Research Gate

A selected of my publications include:

Kafarowski, Joanna. (2018). “”From Boots on ‘til Boots Off”: Collecting Greenland with Explorer Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972).” Collections. 14(4): 477-496.’From_Boots_on_’till_Boots_Off_Collecting_Greenland_with_Explorer_Louise_Arner_Boyd_1887-1972.

Kafarowski, Joanna. (2017). The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame A Life of Louise Arner Boyd. Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ontario.

Kafarowski, Joanna (ed.) (2009). Gender, Culture and Northern Fisheries. Canadian Circumpolar Institute. Edmonton, University of Alberta Press.

Kafarowski, Joanna (2009). “Gender, culture and contaminants in the north.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 34(3): 494-499.

Kafarowski, Joanna (2007). “Gendered dimensions of environmental health, contaminants and global change in Nunavik.” Inuit Studies. 30(1): 31-49.