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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Andrew Patrick Gerkey
ANTH 469
Seattle Campus

Special Studies in Anthropology

Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in anthropology. Offered occasionally by visitors or resident faculty.

Class description

Arctic peoples and places are at the forefront of some of the most pressing global problems today. In this course, we will use Arctic perspectives to explore issues that affect us all, including climate change, environmental conservation, economic development, energy extraction, and diminishing cultural, linguistic, and biological diversity. Our readings will span the circumpolar Arctic and sub-Arctic, introducing us to the histories and contemporary lives of people in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, and Scandinavia. Beginning with the intimate connections between Arctic peoples and their environments, we will explore the relationship between traditional ecological knowledge and scientific research. How do the practices, ideologies, and authorities that are inherent in different forms of knowledge influence debates over the sustainable and just use of natural resources? Our efforts to answer this question will lead us to consider the ways individuals, communities, institutions, and governments negotiate the balance between seemingly contrary visions of conservation and development, tradition and modernity, sovereignty and integration. We will critically examine these dichotomies and attempt to reconcile or move beyond them. Using the insights gained from Arctic perspectives, we will plot pathways toward potential solutions.

Student learning goals

Students will develop skills in reading texts closely to identify the author’s position and the points used to support it.

Students will also learn to write critical essays that use the perspectives of other authors as a starting point for developing original ideas and analysis.

General method of instruction

This course will be focused on in-class discussion of the readings, including small-group work. Lectures will be used occasionally to introduce additional material, along with several films. Students are expected to arrive to class prepared by completing the assigned readings in advance and being ready to discuss them.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Andrew Patrick Gerkey
Date: 03/26/2012