There is a common way of describing the Arctic – the region, its people and resources – in terms of rapid change and constant transformation. Climate change, scramble for the world’s diminishing natural resources and the rather newly emerged concern for local cultures and knowledge, among others, have contributed to the repeated constructions of the Arctic as something that is constantly in flux. Undeniably, the Arctic and its people have witnessed radical changes. However, the prevailing rhetoric of change dismisses a great deal of what has held its ground, the traits of continuity that make the Arctic what it is. The persistence of northern ways of life, local and indigenous cultures and the practices of using and benefiting from the region’s renewable resources are some of the examples of this continuity. Equally recurring are perceptions and preconceived ideas of the Arctic as a global frontier, as a region rich with exploitable resources and a wilderness to be protected.
The Northern Political Economy symposium of 2018 invites scholars from a range of disciplines to reflect on the elements of continuity in the Arctic and the ways in which continuity and change mesh. Among other questions, the symposium asks to what extent the view of Arctic as a central stage for change works to effectively gloss over powerful continuities, such as the lingering of colonial and exploitative practices and hierarchical center-periphery relations.
Kirsten Thisted, University of Copenhagen
Kirsten Thisted is an Associate Professor in the Minority Studies Section, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. She has conducted cross-disciplinary research in literature, linguistics, media and history. Her research has focused especially on Greenland. In her talk she will reflect on change as a constant factor in the history of Greenland.
Deadline for proposals
The programme will include a keynote talk, presentations by the participants and discussions on the basis of presentations. A symposium dinner will be organized.
Confirmations of acceptance will be sent by early July the latest. The final programme will be announced by 8 August.
There is no participation fee and the the organizers will cover the costs of meals during the seminar. Please note that the symposium participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.
The symposium is organised by the Northern political economy/Sustainable development research group, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland.