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University of Alberta

Arctic Peoples and Cultures

University of Alberta via Coursera

Overview

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Welcome to this online course – Peoples and cultures in the Arctic. In this, the 4th instalment of The Arctic MOOCs we want to bring you closer to peoples and cultures living in the circumpolar Arctic. Therefore, this is more like a documentary than a classical course. Our hope is that by getting to know people living in the Arctic you gain a better insight and understanding of what the Arctic means to thousands of individuals, but also that you, by acquiring more knowledge can become a valuable advocate for environmental and other issues facing the future of the Arctic. This is a collaboration between UArctic, University of Alberta, and UiT Arctic University of Norway.

Syllabus

  • Welcome to the course – Peoples and cultures in the Arctic
    • In this, the 4th instalment of The Arctic MOOCs, we want to bring you closer to peoples and cultures in the Arctic. Therefore, this is more like a documentary than a classical course. Our hope is that by getting to know people living in the Arctic you gain a better insight and understanding of what the Arctic means to thousands of individuals, but also, that you by acquiring more knowledge, become a valuable advocate for environmental and other issues facing the future of the Arctic.

      The MOOC has 8 modules spanning 22 video chapters. Each module ends with a small quiz, and at the end of the course you will find a set of open-ended questions. As you watch the videos you will be prompted (the video stops) and given an opportunity to follow some links that point to external websites, scientific papers and organisations relevant to the content you are watching. You choose if you want to continue or explore more. All links and resources used/mentioned are available for you to explore at a later stage.

      We hope you learn something new, and that you enjoy the experience.

       

      TIP: Use the "Explore more…" opportunities added to all the videos. They will certainly add to the learning experience

      PS: All videos have english subtitles. Turn on closed captions in video player to see.

  • Module 1 - Peoples and cultures in the Arctic
    • We are going to start this course by introducing you to the people, the cultures and how it is to live in the arctic, but also to introduce you to some of the darker periods where official policies led to, motivated by a clear political agenda, things like the assimilation processes of indigenous peoples. We are also going to get an historic view on how these arctic cultures emerged into what we see today – both from a global perspective, and more specifically how the Norwegian and Russian indigenous politics treated the arctic peoples. Finally, a talk about how indigenous peoples managed to organize their struggle through e.g., the United Nations.

      Module 1 contains 4 (1–4) chapters and has a small quiz at the end, but don't worry. It is our goal that you get to know the areas and the peoples of the Arctic – not that your quiz score is high.

  • Module 2 - History of present-day arrivals of non-indigenous people
    • In addition to indigenous peoples many non-indigenous people have adapted their lives to live in the Arctic. And these are just as much native arctic citizens as those belonging to the indigenous communities. We are going to meet some of them in this module. Some of them have ancestorial links that go back hundreds, if not thousands of years and some have just started their lives as new arctic families. The Arctic is much more influenced by newcomers and more multicultural than one would think. Module 2 contains 3 chapters (5–7) and has a small quiz at the end.
  • Module 3 - Living in polar regions – The polar night and the midnight sun
    • The first day of sunlight after the polar night. How does not seeing the sun for two months effect you as a person? Does it change you in any way? What kind of problems could you face during this period? In module 3 we are going to hear about research on these topics, and we will meet people talking about their experience during the long polar night – both good and bad.
  • Module 4 - Living in polar regions - Permafrost
    • Another challenge some people in the Arctic encounter is the unstable ground caused by the active layer in the permafrost. The seasonal freezing and thawing of this surface layer presents unique challenges even for constructions that were designed specifically for functioning in the Arctic.

      The seed vault on Svalbard and buildings belonging to UNIS (Research station) are some of the constructions where one has had to take special measures in order to exist in an extreme arctic environment.

      Module 4 contains 2 chapters (9–10) and has a small quiz at the end.

  • Module 5 - Climate change and its impact
    • The temperatures in the Arctic continue to rise at three times the global annual average, driving many of the changes underway in the Arctic. Most prominently, snow and ice are melting at an increasing rate. This impacts both local ecosystems and the global climate system. Polar bears have had to adopt to decreasing sea ice, fisheries face more unstable weather, and those living on the tundra are witnessing changes in their access to areas where snow conditions are worsening.

      Module 5 contains 2 chapters (11–12) and has a small quiz at the end, but do not worry. It is our goal that you get to know the areas and the peoples of the Arctic – not that your quiz score is high.

  • Module 6 - Livelihoods and economies
    • The Arctic has a thriving industrial community with an abundance of natural resources like oil and gas and fisheries. This has led to a varied and mixed economy that has evolved alongside the traditional livelihoods of the different cultural groups of the north. One of the most important being fisheries where stockfish e.g., has been a major export commodity for more than a thousand years. These days we are also seeing a move away from the fossil fuel industry – towards more renewable resources like water and wind energy, but also a growing tourist industry where more and more people want to experience a personal connection to the arctic nature. But we are also facing challenges in fisheries where frozen fish as a commodity is growing, and that has an impact on the local communities.

      Module 6 contains 5 chapters (13–17) and has a small quiz at the end, but do not worry. It is our goal that you get to know the areas and the peoples of the Arctic – not that your quiz score is high.

      Trigger Warning/Content Warning: Video in chapter 13 contains footage of fish being caught and gutted.

  • Module 7 - Humans impact on the Arctic region - footprint and pollution
    • The question we ask in this module is to what extent humans have had an impact on the Arctic region? We have changed the landscape through the construction of residences and other structures, as well as through the development of energy from rivers and mines, building roads and even with increased tourism – all leaving a significant footprint. How are we meeting the future? How do we make sure that we protect the Arctic as much as possible? The local government on Svalbard brings us some valuable insight on the situation.

      Module 7 contains 2 chapters (18–19) and has a small quiz at the end, but do not worry. It is our goal that you get to know the areas and the peoples of the Arctic – not that your quiz score is high.

  • Module 8 - Co-production of knowledge between science and tradition
    • Let’s turn to politics and listen to some of those who work towards protecting the Arctic. Telling us what we can do to ensure that we don’t impact it more than necessary? Also, whose responsibility is it to protect the arctic environment? Politicians and governments, the scientific communities, industry or indigenous people or other native peoples?

      Module (8) contains the three final chapters (20–22) in this Mooc, and has a small quiz at the end, but do not worry. It is our goal that you get to know the areas and the peoples of the Arctic – not that your quiz score is high.

      The open-ended questions in the end of the course do not haven one single correct answer, but on request you will be shown a suggested possible answer. We hope that the entire course will give you some valuable insights into the people who live in the Arctic, and how living there has had an impact on the region.

      Thank you for watching.

  • Final course quiz
    • You are now all set to take the final quiz. We have put together 34 reflective questions that will challenge what you, hopefully, have learned by going through this course. We hope you have enjoyed it, and remember – by trying to answer the questions in this quiz you are reenforcing your learning outcomes.

      After submitting your text, we offer you a possible solution in order for you to evaluate your own answer.

Taught by

Eric Kama Steinberg and Mark Stenersen

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4.3 rating at Coursera based on 19 ratings

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