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240511 SE Anthropology of Circumpolar North (P3) (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course will start digital. If the Covid regulations allow it, it will change to on-site or hybrid.
Information about the lecture rooms will then follow in time.

Monday 01.03. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 15.03. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 12.04. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 26.04. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 10.05. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 31.05. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The Circumpolar North covering vast Arctic and Subarctic areas, represents a politically, ethnically, culturally and socially diverse region of the world. The common issues that characterize this region include remoteness and low population density (although, there are few cities in these areas too), a mix of indigenous and migrant groups who arrived to the region during the colonization process, and growing economic and political significance of the Arctic as a new resource frontier, an arena for geopolitical struggles and effects of environmental change.
Thus, this course is designed as an introduction to the Circumpolar North and is based on a mixture of anthropological and social science literature and white papers. It will start with a brief history of exploration and colonization of the region, continue with the present-day communities and populations including their living conditions, socio-economic development, infrastructures and resource extraction projects, and climate change effects, and finish with cultural revitalization movements and identities. While exploring these topics, we will link the global and the national contexts to the local level, where our ethnographic attention will be focused. While many of examples will come from Siberia and the Russian North, where my empirical research is conducted, case studies from North America, Fennoscandia, and Greenland will also be included in the geographic scope of the seminar.

The course will have primarily a seminar character: the first session will serve as the general introduction and provide the literature overview, while during the following sessions selected literature on the main topics, as well as media (and possibly, empirical) assignments and paper previews will be discussed in the seminar format.

Assessment and permitted materials

The following assessment criteria will apply:
Seminar paper will count for 50%;
Literature review presentations - 30%;
Media review presentation 10%;
Attendance and presentations of paper preview - 10%

A seminar paper can be based entirely on literature or include an empirical part (e.g. field data, media resources, etc.). The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Recently introduced anti-plagiarism software 'Turnitin' might be used for courses with continuous assessment. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate).

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The maximum points allocated for the course is 20. In order to receive a passing grade, at least 11 points are required; Befriedigend (3) equals 12-14 points; Gut (2) 15-17 points; Sehr gut (1) - 18-20 points.
Regular attendance is required throughout the course (only one class can be missed in case of excuse).

Examination topics

Reading list

AHDR. 2004 Arctic Human Development Report. Akureyri: Stefansson Arctic Institute.
Anderson, Alun. 2009. After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic. New York: HarperCollins.
Anderson, David G., and Mark Nuttall, eds. 2004. Cultivating Arctic Landscapes: Knowing and Managing Animals in the Circumpolar North. New York: Berghahn Books.
Armstrong, Terence, George Rogers, and Graham Rowley. 1978. The Circumpolar North: A Political and Economic Geography of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. London: Methuen.
Byers, Michael. 2010. Who Owns the Arctic? Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.
Chapin, F. S., et al. 2006. Building resilience and adaptation to manage Arctic change. Ambio 35(4):198-202.
Cronin, Marionne. 2010. Polar Horizons: Images of the Arctic in Accounts of Amundsen’s Polar Aviation Expeditions. Scientia Canadensis 33(2):99-120.
Cruikshank, Julie. 1997. Claiming Legitimacy: Shamanic Prophesy Narratives and Historical Understanding in the Western Subarctic. Pp. 30.
Doel, Ronald Edmund, Urban Wråkberg, and Suzanne Zeller. 2014. Science, Environment, and the New Arctic. Journal of Historical Geography 44:2-14.
Gad, U. P. and J. Strandsbjerg, eds. 2018. The Politics of Sustainability in the Arctic: Reconfiguring Identity, Space, and Time. Routledge studies in sustainability. London, Routledge.
Hacquebord, Louwrens, and Dag Avango. 2009. Settlements in an Arctic Resource Frontier Region. Arctic Anthropology 46(1-2):25-39.
Heleniak, T. 2010. Settlers on the Edge: Identity and Modernization on Russia's Farthest Arctic Frontier. Eurasian Geography and Economics 51(2):274-277.
Huskey, Lee, and Chris Southcott, eds. 2010. Migration in the Circumpolar North: Issues and Contexts. Edmonton, Alberta: CCI Press in cooperation with the University of the Arctic.
Krech, Shepard, III, ed. 1984. The Subarctic Fur Trade: Native Social and Economic Adaptations. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Laruelle, Marlene. 2017. New mobilities and social changes in Russia's Arctic regions. New York: Routledge.
McCannon, John. 2012. A History of the Arctic: Nature, Exploration and Exploitation. London: Reaktion Books.
Nuttall, Mark, and Terry V. Callaghan, eds. 2000. The Arctic: Environment, People, Policy. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers.
Orttung, Robert W., ed. 2016. Sustaining Russia's Arctic cities: resource politics, migration, and climate change. New York: Berghahn Books.
Petersen, Hanne, and Birger Poppel, eds. 1999. Dependency, Autonomy, Sustainability in the Arctic. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Petrov, Andrey, et al. 2016. Arctic Sustainability Research: toward a New Agenda. Polar Geography 39(3):165-178.
Powell, Richard C. 2017. Studying Arctic Fields: Cultures, Practices, and Environmental Sciences Montreal Kingston London Chicago: McGill-Queen's University Press.
Schweitzer, Peter P., and Molly Lee. 1997. The Arctic Culture Area. In Native North Americans: An Ethnohistorical Approach. M.R. Mignon and D.L. Boxberger, eds. Pp. 29-83. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
Southcott, Chris, et al., eds. 2019. Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic. New York: Routledge.
Wilson, Emma, and Florian Stammler. 2016. Beyond extractivism and alternative cosmologies: Arctic communities and extractive industries in uncertain times. The Extractive Industries and Society 3(1):1-8.
Young, Oran R. 1992. Arctic Politics: Conflict and Cooperation in the Circumpolar North. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 10.06.2021 16:09