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Jody Phibbs, British Columbia, 2013 Course Description: Based on the curriculum of the Arctic Council’s university without walls, this exploration of the circumpolar world examines the ecological, cultural, and political processes of the Far North, laying a foundation for further exploration of this relatively unexplored and potentially valuable region. Located largely above 60 degrees north latitude, the Arctic and Sub-Arctic are remote places with important resources. With the completion of the International Polar Year in 2008 and increased attention to northern shipping routes and Arctic oil, with the ever-burgeoning focus on climate change centered at the poles, this vast and fragile region constitutes an untapped reserve of critical importance to a sustainable world. Using a circumpolar, comparative, and interdisciplinary approach, we will investigate the physical and natural processes of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, as well as the indigenous and local peoples and cultures in the region. The Circumpolar World introduces students to the landscape, peoples and issues of the circumpolar region. Beginning with an examination of the geography, biological and physical systems of the Subarctic and Arctic, it then turns to the aboriginal and contemporary peoples of the region. The history of the Circumpolar World is treated in a broad fashion, to provide a grounding in the events and developments that have created the region’s contemporary qualities. The second part of the course surveys some of the particular issues facing the region, including climate change, economic, political and social development. This course ultimately is intended to stimulate interest in the circumpolar world and provide an understanding of region building. In addition to weekly lectures and readings online, students read from many contemporary analyses of the Arctic and exploring virtual communities about the North. Each student in our seminar-style class will select two circumpolar communities from different continents to explore and 1
research in detail throughout the semester, culminating in a final research presentation. Our Comparative Circumpolar Communities project is a way to build local knowledge and relate those to the larger circumpolar region. This research is strongly supported by materials at the library, the map room, and the media library. Seminar Style Research and Discussion: Our course is in seminar style, that is, we read deeply, research collaboratively, write intelligently, and comment thoughtfully on one another’s work, comparing it with our own research. As your instructor, I will usually ask you to think more deeply or explore more fully or express more eloquently some aspect of your research. Discussion is a means of earning further credit. Comparative Circumpolar Communities: Because the North is so sparsely populated and resource rich, community case studies are extremely interesting from an environmental studies or community development or regional/area studies viewpoint. Each student is responsible for researching in detail two northern communities (Comparative Circumpolar Communities, or CCC) on different continents. A community might be a village or a mining site or a natural preserve or a region; your communities should feature a basis of comparison, such as coastal communities threatened by searise, or traditional villages near extractive industries or research centers or military bases, or the like. We have a series of maps in our course that will help you with your work, and I will assist you with your selections in the first weeks. Thus, collectively, we build on our shared foundation of knowledge with your individual research. Every week you have shared readings, while every several weeks you have individual research questions about your communities resulting in substantive essays. Much strategic research support will be provided throughout the semester, and research will culminate in final analyses, summarizing the key characteristics and issues in your communities, and making proposals to solve the problems particular to your communities. The final analysis is in lieu of a final exam. Example of CCC selection Basis of Comparison: northernmost communities in their regions, important resource centers CCC Region Country Location Pop Indigenous Barrow Murmansk North Slope, Alaska Kola Peninsula, Murmansk Oblast USA Russia 71N 156 W 68N 34 E 4,218 320,90 0 Iñupiat Sámi
Readings Online: Our course is online, and our readings are from the University of the Arctic, written by some of the leading experts in the field. The readings become available unit by unit, as assigned. These lectures are written by active researchers in the field, and give a solid foundation for understanding the circumpolar world from a range of disciplinary foci. The written lectures are complemented by presentation slideshows and readings from the Arctic Council and elsewhere. Each week, you will read about a particular aspect of the circumpolar world (e.g., geography, economies, environment, self-determination. Read carefully and take notes; these lectures are a primary source for your essays and frequently suggest resources for your extended research. Research Essays: As you will see from the readings, each unit we examine the North from another disciplinary perspective, and it is your task to research that particular aspect of your two communities, which you will incorporate into your research essays. (See the box below for dates.) Typically, your research essay will involve at least two disciplinary approaches to the circumpolar 2
world, e.g. geography and environment. The essay is to be at least 1,500 words (not including sources) in APA format. In addition to the assigned readings, you are expected to identify at least two outside resources for each community. (In some cases, you may be able to use the individual chapters in a book as separate sources.) There are many resources available through the UVM library portal included with our course, and you are encouraged to make an appointment with Laurie Kutner <firstname.lastname@example.org> to delve deeper into resources. As you do your assigned readings, take notes to help introduce your research essay. Then, discuss your communities systematically in light of the research questions; remember to document and quote accurately. In your conclusion, be sure to consider how the local community situation reflects or does not reflect the larger regional circumpolar issues, thus connecting the local to the global. Also, take care to conclude each unit with a comparative analysis of your two communities. If you need a reminder how to write an expository research essay, check out the guidelines at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/. If you need or would like a tutor for your writing, contact the Writing Center at UVM (http://www.uvm.edu/wid/writingcenter/). There are sample student essays included with some of the research questions to provide models for you. Participation: Participation is expected on a weekly basis. If you are not able to participate for any reason, be sure to alert me, preferably in advance (email@example.com). The seven essays are due as published, and the forums will be closed for initial postings at midnight on the due date. Do NOT miss these deadlines! If, for whatever reason, you are not prepared with your essay, be in touch ASAP so that you may continue your work. The forums do remain open for discussion and further credit for the entire semester. Assessment: 1. Unit 1. CCC selection, preliminary bibliography 10% due September 1 2. Unit 2. Essay about CCC geography and environment 15% due September 15 3. Unit 3. Essay about CCC peoples and cultures 15% due September 29 4. Unit 4. Essay about CCC economies and well-being 15% due October 13 5. Unit 5. Essay about CCC resources and climate change 15% due October 27 6. Unit 6. Essay about CCC politics, governance and geopolitics 15% due November 27 7. Final summative essay 15% due December 1 ALL COMMENTS & RESPONSES DUE BY DECEMBER 3! Course Outline: Unit 1, Introduction to the Circumpolar World . ! READING: Introduction to the Circumpolar North ! OVERVIEW: Arctic Portal, http://www.arcticportal.org/ ! ASSIGNMENT: Introductions. Community selections. Working bibliography. Unit 2,. Northern Lands and Environments ! READING: Northern Perceptions ! LECTURE: Explore the North ! READING: Northern Environments ! LECTURE: Tundra, Taiga and Boreal Forest ! RESEARCH ESSAY: Lands and Environment Unit 3, Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World. ! READING: Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World ! READING: The Arctic Is 3
! LECTURE: Northern Native Peoples ! READING: Aesthetic and Spiritual ! RESEARCH ESSAY: Peoples and Cultures Unit 4. Circumpolar Economies and Well-Being in the North ! READING: Circumpolar Economies ! READING: AHDR Economic Systems ! READING: Well-Being in the North ! RESEARCH ESSAY: Economies and Well-Being Unit 5. Sustainable Development and Climate Change in the Arctic ! READING: Resources and Sustainable Development ! READING: AHDR, Resource Governance ! READING: Climate Change ! READING: Cold Warriors ! RESEARCH ESSAY: Resource Management and Climate Change Unit 6. Questions of Power: Politics, Governance, and Geopolitics ! READING: Political Systems ! READING: Institutions of Governance ! READING: Northern Governance ! READING: AHDR Political Systems ! READING: Geopolitics ! READING: AHDR International Relations ! RESEARCH ESSAY: Power Relations in the North Summative Essay ! Final Summative Essays ! Comments on two other summative essays
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