Andrew Patrick Gerkey
Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in anthropology. Offered occasionally by visitors or resident faculty.
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.
Class assignments and grading