autumn 2021
BNS-1003 Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World - 10 ECTS

Last changed 03.12.2021

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June 

Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April 

Type of course

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

Admission requirements

Admission requirements:

Nordic applicants: Generell studiekompetanse. Admission procedures for foreign applicants, please read:

Admission code: 9199

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.

Quality assurance; Before the end of every course, an evaluation of the course will be arranged in collaboration with the teacher and the student.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is available for inbound exchange students.

This course has academic prerequisites. Please see the "prerequisite" section for more information 

Do you have questions about this course?  Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty:


Coursework requirements

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.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Alta | Digitalt | Annet |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BNS-1003