Online Lecture Series: Arctic Environments

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Spring 2023 Lecture Series: Arctic Environments

April 12, 2023 – May 17, 2023

2:30 PM-3:30 PM PDT

“How Do Different Disciplines Understand Arctic Environments?”

This is the question our speakers will address in this free six-part lecture series, moderated by the University of Washington’s 2022-2023 Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies, Jonathan Peyton.

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.

Series Overview

War and Energy: Mobilizing the Arctic Environment, 1938-1968” – April 12, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Philip Wight – Assistant Professor, History and Arctic & Northern Studies, University of Alaska

The Arctic in 1968 was almost unrecognizable compared to pre-World War II. In a span of just thirty years, Arctic North America became a militarized defense frontier and the United States’ “last best hope” for energy security. This environmental history presentation explores how the exigencies of World War II and the Cold War compelled the US and Canadian federal governments to transform the American Arctic into ground zero for petroleum innovation and production, and the long legacies of these 20th Century developments.

Philip Wight, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of History and Arctic & Northern Studies at the University of Alaska. He is an energy and environmental historian, with a focus on infrastructure, mobility, and climate. He is in the process of finalizing his dissertation-turned-book manuscript, Arctic Artery: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and the World it Made.

“What can we learn from Ignorance? Knowing and Not Knowing the Arctic in the 1970s” – April 19, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Andrew Stuhl – Associate Professor and Department Chair, Environmental Studies & Sciences, Bucknell University

In recent years, science studies scholars and historians of science have developed a line of inquiry called agnotology – the deliberate production of ignorance, doubt, and other states of limited knowledge. This talk will draw from concepts in agnotology as well as recently declassified sources from the Canadian federal government and the oil and gas industry to explore the approval of the first offshore oil well in Canada’s Arctic in the early 1970s. Approached in this way, this case helps Arctic studies scholars make sense of a number of interweaving trends in the last 50 years: the formation of Arctic public interest groups, corporate social responsibility campaigns, oil and gas schemes, research agendas in the natural sciences, and Indigenous rights and environmental politics in Arctic North America.

Andrew Stuhl is Associate Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Bucknell University. He teaches environmental history, history of ecology, environmental humanities, environmental activism, Arctic studies, community-based research design, and community-engaged project management.

Diverse Labours on Northern Land” – April 26, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Rebecca Hall – Assistant Professor, Global Development Studies, Queen’s University

The territorial north in Canada is characterized as a mixed economy, wherein labour is shaped by longstanding Indigenous relations with land alongside centuries of settler extractive development. In her talk, Rebecca Hall will discuss some of the multiple labours of the mixed economy, and how northern Indigenous peoples navigate the tensions between land-based modes of life and the northern extractive economy.

Rebecca Hall is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University, Canada. She is a feminist political economist and her research examines resource extraction, settler colonialism, and caring labours. Her book, Refracted Economies: Diamond Mining and Social Reproduction in the North was published by University of Toronto Press in 2022.

“Future Perfect Ice: Colonialism, Temporality and the Anthropocene North” – May 3, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Bruce Erickson – Associate Professor, Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba

In many ways, the minor conflict between the U.S. and Canada over the SS. Manhattan’s transit of the Northwest Passage reflected oncoming changes in the way Arctic ice was dominantly conceived in North America.  It went from being a landscape briming with potential to one needing to be protected.  The changing (and conflicting) ways we see ice – many of which are focused upon the future of the Arctic – have importance in the realm of authority and jurisdiction in the Arctic.  This presentation will address these changes and how they are shaped by the production of a colonial state in the Canadian North.

Bruce Erickson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba. His work investigates the cultural politics of recreation and tourism within the context of settler colonialism in Canada and beyond. He is the author of Canoe Nation: Nature, Race and the Making of a National Icon.

The Politics of Uranium Mining and Environmental Assessment in Nunavut” – May 10, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Warren Bernauer- Postdoctoral Fellow, Natural Resources Institute and Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba

Dr. Bernauer will discuss the history of environmental assessment and debates about uranium mining in Nunavut. His presentation will examine the extent to which co-management regimes have successfully decolonized resource governance in the Canadian Arctic. Key themes to be explored include Crown jurisdiction, the discourse of technical expertise, the screening out of political and moral issues, capacity issues with community institutions, and the ability of Inuit Elders to participate in accordance with Inuit social protocols and worldviews.

Dr. Warren Bernauer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba. His research uses political ecology and economic geographty approaches to examine resource conflicts in the Canadian Arctic. Along with Inuk Elder and activist Joan Scottie, Dr. Bernauer is a coauthor of I Will Live for Both of Us: A History of Colonialism, Uranium Mining, and Inuit Resistance (University of Manitoba Press, 2022).

“Ice in Motion and the Performative Arctic Panorama” – May 17, 2023, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM PT

Isabelle Gapp- Postdoctoral Fellow, Art History, University of Toronto

This talk explores the complementary and multifaceted visual representations of Arctic ice, from the Victorian spectacle of the panorama to contemporary time-lapse photography. With this, Isabelle Gapp looks at how ice and glaciers have been depicted, documented, and presented within panoramic media over the past two centuries. In making tangible and visual an Arctic glaciological history, this talk does not simply seek to document ice loss but looks to the panorama as a means of communicating ice as a substance, an aesthetic sublime, and as an object of scientific study.

Isabelle Gapp is an Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Toronto and an incoming Interdisciplinary Research Fellow in the Centre for Environment and Biodiversity at the University of Aberdeen. She writes and teaches at the intersection of landscape painting, environmental history, and climate change around the Circumpolar North from 1800 to the present day. Her book, A Circumpolar Landscape: Art and Environment in Scandinavia and North America, 1890-1930 is forthcoming from Lund Humphries in late 2023.

Feature Image: Ice Camp Skate (March 16, 2018) – Members of Ice Camp Skate recover a torpedo during a torpedo exercise in the Arctic Circle in support of Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. ICEX 2018 is a five-week exercise that allows the Navy to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton) 180316-N-KC128-242. “U.S. Navy continues to train in an Arctic environment during Ice Exercise 2018” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
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