Friday, October 21, 2011

New Course on the Changing Arctic


A new study abroad course entitled "Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic" is now available for University of Illinois students. The six-week course, supported in part by the EUC's European Union Center of Excellence grant, will take students of any discipline first to KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden for a five-week introduction to the political, social, historical, and cultural issues of climate change, and then north to the Arctic Circle for ten days of research alongside Swedish classmates.

Concerns over the environmental impact of melting sea ice, contrasted with "possibilities for extracting oil and gas reserves there, as well as new shipping routes," have made the Arctic Circle central in the political agendas of states in the region, reads the program description. The course's aim, then, "is to give a thorough orientation about long-term changes in the Arctic region," from ancient times to the politically- and environmentally-motivated present, "focusing on the way in which actors from the Nordic countries have interacted in their Arctic environments in a long-term, historical perspective." To that end, students will learn about these issues while experiencing firsthand the differences between the southern power center of Stockholm and the northern environment in the Arctic Circle.

The course will be taught by Dag Avango, Professor of the History of Technology at KTH; Bruce Fouke, Professor of Geology at UIUC; and Mark Safstrom, Lecturer in Germanic Languages and Literature at UIUC.

The six-credit class will take place this summer, from June 11–July 25, 2012. Interested students should visit the course's description page and information page for more information. Questions and requests for an informational flier mat be sent to Mark Safstrom at safstrom@illinois.edu. The deadline for applications is February 12, 2012.

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