(CCGS Amundsen, Baffin Bay, October 2016)
POLI 369B(3): International Politics of the Arctic (Fall 2016)
For decades, the Arctic was on the front-lines of the Cold War. Today, the region is changing at an unprecedented rate due to climate change, shipping, the extraction of natural resources, and the efforts of coastal states to secure offshore jurisdictional claims. This upper-year undergraduate course canvasses a range of political and legal issues, from the disputes over Hans Island and the boundary in the Beaufort Sea, to shipping in the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route, to the assertion of sovereign rights over areas of seabed more than 200 nautical miles from shore, to the protection of high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. The environmental, security and geopolitical dimensions of a rapidly opening Arctic will also be considered, along with the role of indigenous peoples and the Arctic Council.
For the rest of the syllabus, see below:
Lectures & Office Hours:
Lectures are on Mondays and Wednesday from 2:00-3:15 PM, beginning on September 7, 2016.
Professor Byers’ office hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-1:40 PM in Buchanan C417, or by appointment.
Andreas Østhagen: andreas.osthagen [at] thearcticinstitute.org
TA Office Hours (Buchanan C417):
Thursday October 20: 15:00 – 16:00
Friday October 21: 12:00 – 13:00
Monday October 24: 15:30 – 16:30
Tuesday October 25: 15:00 – 16:00
Wednesday October 26: 15:30 – 16:30
Thursday October 27: 15:00 – 16:00
- Optional 4000-5000 word (excluding bibliography) mid-term research essay: 50% of final grade. Students wishing comments on a (good) draft must submit it by October 17 at 2 PM -- on paper, in class. Final papers are due on October 31 by 2 PM -- on paper (in class) and on TurnItIn, as explained below. Your paper and TurnItIn versions must be identical. There is no required citation style.
- 120 minute final exam: 100% of final grade; 50% of final grade for students opting to write the term paper.
Tentative Course Outline:
Sept. 7 – General introduction
Sept. 12 – Crystal Serenity -- A Case Study
Sept. 14 – Crystal Serenity -- A Case Study
Sept. 19 – Russian Rockets -- A Case Study
Sept. 21 – Russian Rockets -- A Case Study
Sept. 26 – Security (Guest Lecture)
Sept. 28 – Search and Rescue (Guest Lecture)
Oct. 3 - Case Study: Arctic Relations & Ukraine Crisis
Oct. 5 – Russia and the Arctic (Guest lecture)
Oct. 10 – No class (Thanksgiving)
Oct. 12 – No class (draft paper preparation)
Oct. 17 – The Right to be Cold (Guest lecture)
Oct. 19 – Indigenous Peoples
Oct. 24 – Arctic Council
Oct. 26 – Territory
Oct. 31 – Final papers due / Maritime Boundaries
Nov. 2 - Maritime Boundaries
Nov. 9 – Arctic Oil
Nov. 14 – Extended continental shelves
Nov. 16 – Arctic Straits
Nov. 21 – Arctic Straits
Nov. 23 – Fisheries (Guest lecture)
Nov. 28 - Review & Practice Exam Questions
Nov. 30 - Review & Practice Exam Questions
Topics for term papers (choose one of two):
The frequency of Arctic search and rescue incidents is increasing, putting pressure on already stretched emergency response capacities. At the same time, increased maritime traffic has led to fears of an oil spill or a sinking cruise ship.
What should the governments of Arctic countries do to improve the situation? And how should they weigh the need for improvements against the risks, costs, and imbalance between their northern and southern populations?
Is the Arctic is becoming a battleground in a new Cold War between Russia and the West?
Book and Blog:
Previous versions of this course have contributed substantially to a book entitled International Law and the Arctic (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and some of the lectures this year will draw heavily on this volume. It is recommended that you acquire a copy of this book and follow along with the lecture schedule. Other recent and useful books include: Rolf Tamnes & Kristine Offerdal (eds.), Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic (Routledge, 2014); Alexander Sergunin & Valery Konyshev, Russia in the Arctic (Ibidem, 2015); and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, The Right to be Cold (Penguin, 2016).
However, the Arctic is changing so very rapidly that we will also rely on some other materials, including media reports and primary materials posted or linked from this blog. The blog will evolve throughout the semester, including when students post comments to it – as they are encouraged to do.
Vancouver Maritime Museum & Vancouver Aquarium:
Students are encouraged to visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which has some excellent Arctic exhibits including the original RCMP schooner St. Roch, the first Canadian vessel to sail through the Northwest Passage. Students are also encouraged to visit the Canada’s Arctic gallery at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Turn it in!
Final term papers must be submitted concurrently on paper and to Turnitin.com
The class ID is 12869089; the enrollment password is Aurora.
The version of your paper submitted to Turnitin.com must be identical to the paper copy submitted at class.