autumn 2019

BNS-1003 Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 28.02.2020

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Alta | Online | Annet |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.

Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester. 

Type of course

The course is obligatory for the Bachelor and One Year Program in Northern Studies. The course is taught online for One Year Program.The subject can be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements: Nordic applicants: Generell studiekompetanse International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English.  

A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the web site from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). For language requirements we refer to NOKUT's GSU-list.

Admission code: 5199

Course content

The primary aim of this course is to introduce students to the peoples and cultures of the Circumpolar North covering the Circumpolar regions: North America, Greenland, Siberia, Northern Asia, Northern Scandinavia and Northwest Russia.

By using an interdisciplinary approach that mixes the social scientific traditions of anthropology, archeology, sociology, history, media and cultural and literature studies, students will be introduced to different perspectives on traditional and contemporary culture. The course subjects will emphasise Northern peoples and their lives, their adaptations, outlooks and contributions to social, economic, political and environmental issues in a changing historical context. Contemporary issues are discussed in relation to a general background of the Northern history and South-North dynamics. 

Objectives of the course

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:


  • Explain the fundamentals of the cultural history of the Circumpolar North, from the first periods of peopling to that of colonial and post-colonial times.
  • Identify the historical South-North dynamics connected to periods of colonisation, nation building, industrialisation and Indigenous Peoples' self-determination strategies.
  • Compare the Circumpolar Northern Indigenous cultures and societies and be aware of the similarities and differences.


  • Analyse the history of the South-North relationship and the consequences for traditional life and culture of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Assess the main dynamics of Indigenous Peoples when it comes to cultural communication, ethno-political identification and processes of self-determination.

General competence

  • Critically assess changing patterns of Indigenous culture in the Circumpolar World and Barents Euro-Arctic Region, in particular, using an interdisciplinary approach

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Bachelor students: Mainly teacher presentations, group work and group discussions, supported by digital learning resources.

Online students: The course is composed of separate modules for online studies.  Students are required to submit answers to the individual module questions. Teaching and feedback will be given. Streamed materials will also be available.  A guideline for self-study will be provided. Occasional video conference calls between student and lecturer will be arranged, which is compulsory.



Online students: Assignments to teacher-supplied questions.  The assignments have to be approved by the teacher(s) responsible for the course before students are allowed to sit the final exam.

Bachelor students: 3 written assignments to teacher-supplied questions.The assignments have to be approved by the teacher(s) responsible for the course before students are allowed to sit the final exam.
Class attendance is obligatory (at least 75%).


A final written, take-home exam (3 days). Grading: scale A - F, A - E are passing grades, F is a fail.

Guidelines for retaking examination, see Regulations for examinations at the UiT, Chapter IV for Postponed, re-sit and extraordinary examinations, etc.

Date for examination

Take home assignment - Nett hand out date 16.12.2019 hand in date 19.12.2019
Take home assignment - Alta hand out date 16.12.2019 hand in date 19.12.2019

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.