Transnational Task Force on the Arctic

2024 Arctic Task Force

Winter Quarter 2024 Transnational Task Force
JSIS 495 D: Indigenous and International Relations in a Warming Arctic

(Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30am-12:20pm)

In both Canada and the United States, China’s aspirations as a polar power are impacting the balance in Arctic international relations. In a warming Arctic, melting ice is opening new shipping routes, creating new opportunities for natural resource extraction, and accelerating other processes of globalization. China considers itself a near-Arctic nation and now serves as an Observer on the Arctic Council, which is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic. At the same time, Arctic Indigenous Peoples, in particular Inuit, have become increasingly effective at influencing domestic and international policies concerning the Arctic. In this Task Force, students will address ways that policies may impact China’s role in the region and what impact, if any, China’s role in Arctic policy might have on Arctic Indigenous Peoples, Canada, the United States and beyond.

While Arctic policy is developed to solve social and international problems, in seeking to understand policy we must ask whose voices are dominant and whose are not well represented or even absent in the development of a particular policy, or in decision-making processes. International relations and policies that impact the homelands and lives of Arctic Indigenous Peoples are inherently linked to questions of justice and the rights of Inuit and Inuit communities. This is particularly important as international interests, such as China’s, increase their focus on the Arctic.

Expert Evaluator:



Task Force Instructor:

Michelle Koutnik is a glaciologist whose research interests include the dynamics of glacier change, the evolution of glaciers and ice sheets over time, and the history of climate and ice on Mars. As part of the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences’ glaciology group, Michelle explores the how glaciers and ice sheets evolve in response to climate change. She has collected data at multiple field locations, including Greenland and Antarctica, and uses that data to better understand and model the processes that affect ice flow. Previously, Michelle was a research associate and graduate research assistant at the UW and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Copenhagen. Read more here

Ottawa Program Manager:

Headshot of Paul CarringtonPaul Carrington is Managing Director of the University of Washington East Asia Center, a Title VI National Resource Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Working with faculty, students and a diverse range of off-campus partners, he is responsible for implementing the EAC’s mission to advance knowledge of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan throughout the UW and wider community. This includes developing K-12, college and university curriculum; hosting academic conferences, public lectures and trainings; facilitating study abroad; and administering FLAS fellowships.

Prior to his current role, Paul served for seven years as assistant director and lecturer for the UW Tacoma Institute for Global Engagement. In this capacity, he oversaw program administration, advising services, and taught Introduction to Global Studies courses that utilized place-as-text frameworks to orient undergraduates to themes in globalization and international relations. He also has three years’ experience teaching English in Japan.

Paul holds an MA in Comparative Politics and a BA in History & Politics from the University of York. His primary concentrations were in modern East Asian history, British history, developmental politics and international relations.

Ottawa Program Advisor:

Nadine Fabbi

Nadine C. Fabbi is Interim Director of the Canadian Studies Center and Arctic and International Relations in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington; and Lead for the Arctic International Policy Institute Arctic Fellows initiative in the Jackson School. Her doctorate is in Educational Leadership and Policy in the Faculty of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include how we understand the Arctic as a unique region in the field of area studies and international studies and what this means in higher education; how Arctic Indigenous internationalism is influencing international relations and regimes such as the Arctic Council; and how policy and spatial activism in Arctic foreign and domestic policies are reshaping how we think about international relations and social justice. Read more here

Professional Editor and Writing Consultant:

Joanne Muzak is an experienced editor, writing consultant, and project manager. Based in Montreal, Canada, Joanne works with diverse clients from around the world on all kinds of writing projects, at every stage in the process. Recent clients include Arctic and Inuit researchers, Indigenous artists and activists, Canadian academic presses, a Norwegian anthropologist, a Russian memoirist, and local non-profit organizations. She has worked with Dr. Nadine Fabbi, and her colleagues and students at the University of Washington, on the Arctic and International Relations Series since its launch in 2015. In June 2018, she joined Dr. Fabbi, Executive Director of the Aleut International Association Liza Mack, and members of the Korea Maritime Institute in Unalaska, Aleutian Islands, for a workshop that explored the Unangan people’s role in this remote but globally significant region. Joanne holds a PhD in  English and Cultural Studies from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She was Canada’s first postdoctoral fellowship in community service-learning, also at the University of Alberta, where she designed and taught interdisciplinary, experiential university courses. Read more here