SH-201 The History of Svalbard (6 ECTS)

Photo: Thor Inge Vollan/UNIS

ID:
SH-201
CREDITS:
6 ECTS
START DATE:
January 25, 2021
END DATE:
February 8, 2021
COURSE PERIOD:
Spring semester (afternoon course in January/February), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
None
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Lecture summaries; Ca. 20 pages. Recommended reading list; Ca. 250 pages
COURSE COSTS:
None
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
5/ - students
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

INSTRUCTORS:

Thor Bjørn Arlov, historiker NTNU/UNIS.
Thor Bjørn Arlov
Adjunct Associate Professor

Course requirements:

This course is open to all enrolled students at UNIS, and to the Longyearbyen public. Only UNIS students (including Arctic Nature Guide students) are allowed to sit the exam.

NB! In 2021, this course will be only offered digitally. See details on digital lectures.

Academic content:

The point of departure of the course is the gradual colonization and exploration of the circumpolar Arctic from pre-historic times until the modern period. The course discusses early exploitation of Svalbard as a resource frontier with emphasis on whaling and hunting as well as economic activity in the modern era, first and foremost mining and large scale tourism. An overriding perspective is the interaction between man and the environment through nearly 400 years of resource harvesting.

The history of science on Svalbard will be outlined from its early beginnings in the 18th century until the present, including the more spectacular polar expeditions. Political history includes the question of sovereignty and the emergence of a management regime, local governance and the role of Svalbard in a geopolitical context.

The development of Russian and Norwegian local communities is covered, and in particular the local history of Longyearbyen.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • have a comprehensive overview of Svalbard’s history from its discovery in 1596 until the present day, covering main aspects of economic and scientific activity, politics, social and cultural development.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • have acquired a basic understanding of historical thinking and applied historical method.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • have acquired a wider cultural context for and a historical perspective on their disciplinary studies and life in Svalbard
  • have basic training in critical assessment of source material in order to form balanced judgment.

Learning activities:

The course extends over two weeks. The course runs Monday–Friday afternoons.

A web-based written exercise must be approved in order to sit the exam. During the course there will be a guided visit to Svalbard Museum.

Compulsory learning activities:

At least 80% attendance at lectures. One web-based written exercise.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
 Written exam  3 hours  100%

 

Application deadline: This course cannot be applied for separately.

UNIS students should register online (see instructions in your e-mail). Others: No pre-registration necessary, just show up on the first lecture.

2021 course programme digitally:

Note that the online lectures start at 16:15 each weekday. The lectures are recorded and can be watched later.

Date and Time Lecture title Links
25 Jan 16:15-18:00 Lecture 1 – Introduction: Arctic colonization and main lines in the history of Svalbard Link to digital lecture
26 Jan 16:15-18:00 Lecture 2 – The early exploration of the Arctic and the discovery of Svalbard Link to digital lecture
27 Jan 16:15-18:00 Lecture 3 – Whaling and sealing in the 17th and 18th centuries Link to digital lecture
28 Jan 16:15-18:00 Lecture 4 – Hunting and trapping. Russian and Norwegian trappers Link to digital lecture
29 Jan 16:15-18:00 Lecture 5 – The scientific exploration of Svalbard and modern polar research Link to digital lecture
01 Feb 16:15-18:00 Lecture 6 – The great (and not so great) polar expeditions from Svalbard Link to digital lecture
02 Feb 16:15-18:00 Lecture 7 – The industrialization of Svalbard: Exploration and mining from Søren Zakariassen to Svea Nord Link to digital lecture
03 Feb 16:15-18:00 Lecture 8 – The development of governance and environmental protection Link to digital lecture
04 Feb 16:15-18:00 Lecture 9 – Svalbard in national and international politics: problems of strategy and sovereignty Link to digital lecture
05 Feb 16:15-18:00 Lecture 10 – The development of permanent settlement and the local history of Longyearbyen Link to digital lecture

 

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The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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