Arctic Studies Minor

Arctic Minor Courses – 2022-2023

The following courses are required courses for the Arctic Studies minor or fulfill elective requirements. This page will be updated as course offerings become available. For questions on courses, contact the Canadian Studies Center at


ARCTIC 200: Indigenous Diplomacies and International Relations in the Arctic  **(3 cr.), M/W 11:30 a.m.-1:20 p.m., Jason Young, Senior Research Scientist, UW Information School

This course introduces students to international relations in the Arctic, with an emphasis on understanding IR from the perspective of the region’s Indigenous peoples. Students will study dramatic environmental, economic, and social transformations in the Arctic; learn about emerging geopolitical issues; explore Indigenous perspectives on international relations in the Arctic; and challenge themselves to understand international frameworks through the lens of Indigenous knowledge systems.

OCEAN 497 E / OCEAN 506 E: Ocean Memory (3 cr.) T/Th, 3:30-4:50 p.m. Jody Deming, Karl M. Banse Endowed Professor, School of Oceanography

In this course, students will explore multidisciplinary aspects of the emerging line of inquiry called “ocean memory”, which has as its broadest goal to serve society by heightening human connectivity to the ocean through the immediately understandable concept of memory.  Human forms of memory — short-term, long-term, collective and cultural, can be applied to virtually every scientific discipline within oceanography, as can the triggering or priming of memory and the ultimate loss of memory.  Students will explore each of these aspects, both metaphorically and in scientific depth, with an expectation that new concepts and practices, not yet envisioned, will emerge from our collective immersion in this subject.


ARCTIC 220/HSTCMP 220: At the Top of the World: Arctic Histories (5 cr.) M/W, 10:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Elena Campbell, Associate Professor, Department of History

This course explores the history of human understanding of and relationship to the Arctic by tracing the social, economic, political, and environmental transformations of the Earth’s northernmost region, during the period from the earliest settlements to the end of the 20th century (the creation of the Arctic Council in 1996), as well as the shifts in ideas that accompany these changes.

This course will serve as a study of the way both Arctic communities and outsiders, Indigenous cultures and colonial cultures, have represented the Far North in their literatures. With an origin in the Scandinavian Arctic, students will study primary and secondary texts from a range of perspectives across the circumpolar North. Texts and films in the course will be drawn from Sámi, Norwegian, Inuit, and colonial North American traditions, including Sámi artists Nils-Aslak Valkeapää and Nils Gaup, Norwegian explorer and scientist Fridtjof Nansen, Grenlandic-Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen, Inuit artists Zacharias Kunuk, Zebedee Nungak, Tanya Tagaq, and others. The course will consider the various ways Arctic literatures engage issues like environmental health, colonialism, and cultural identity, resilience, and imagination.


ARCTIC 391/JSIS B 391/HONORS 391: Climate Change: An International Perspective: Science, Art, and Activism (5 cr.), T/Th 12:30-2:20 p.m.Robert Pavia, UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs

This course explores the science of climate change in the context of social and political constraints. It further explores the role of art and activism in communicating climate impacts and mitigation options. Students will gain knowledge of key atmospheric and ocean science principles along with developing a greater understanding of contemporary issues in the context of Arctic nations and peoples. Students will develop skills for critically evaluating the popular portrayal of scientific concepts and their role in policy debates.

ARCTIC 401/ARCTIC 498: Current Issues in the Arctic — Arctic Environments (3 cr.), M/W 2:30-4:20pm, Jonathan Peyton, 2023 UW Canada Fulbright Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies

The course will be built around a series of 5-6 invited lectures by colleagues who will speak on the question of “how do different disciplines understand Arctic environments?” We will hear from a wide range of perspectives on Arctic environments including social scientists, colleagues in the environmental humanities, art historians, environmental field scientists, policy and governance experts, and those working closely with communities. The other central component of the course will encourage students to engage critically with different kinds of documents that frame Arctic environments and peoples in different ways – film, policy documents, art, scientific data sets, media portrayals, academic research and more.

*Note: ARCTIC 401 is listed as Credit/No Credit. Students may enroll in ARCTIC 498 to receive a grade for their participation.

JSIS B 103/SMEA 103: Society and the Oceans (5 cr.), M/W/F 1:30-2:50, Brandon Ray

Explores the social, justice, and policy dimensions of the ocean environment and ocean management policy. Pays attention to how human values, institutions, culture, and history shape environmental issues and policy responses. Examines case studies and influential frameworks, such as the ocean as “tragedy of the commons.”

JSIS B 431/JSIS B 531: International Negotiation Simulation — Arctic (5 cr.), Th 3:30-6:20pm, Robert Pekkanen, Jackson School of International Studies

This course features a weekend-long, in-person international crisis negotiation simulation exercise, implemented in partnership with the U.S. Army War College. The scenario is an international negotiation over the Arctic, with student teams developing throughout the term the negotiation strategies they implement in the exercise. The course emphasizes and develops three skills:

  1. Negotiation. Students learn and practice strategic negotiation and crisis management techniques.
  2. Leadership and team building. At two separate junctures in the quarter, students will form teams that must cooperate effectively in the simulation. Students are supported in this skill (and negotiation) with classroom lectures and activities.
  3. A greater understanding of global complexity and the effort required to resolve a regional crisis in the Arctic that has broad international implications. The specific focus on an international negotiation in the Arctic gives students hands-on experience with international diplomacy and international relations.

OCEAN 235: Arctic Change (2-5 credits), M/W/F 11:30am-12:20pm, Rebecca Woodgate, Senior Principal Oceanographer, UW Polar Science Center

This course investigates the Arctic system of ocean, ice, atmosphere, and sea-floor; how human interact with it, and what the future of the Arctic means to the world. Includes sea-ice loss, climate impacts, and Arctic resource exploitation.