Arctic Usable Pasts and Imagined Futures: Teaching History of the Arctic in the Framework of Applied and Interdisciplinary History

Lead Author Julia, Lajus
Institution Contact National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg School for Social Sciences and Humanities, Dep. of History ; 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov, 190008 St. Petersburg, Russia
Theme Theme 4: Building Long-term Human Capacity
Session Name 4.6 Gaining a better understanding and awareness of the Arctic through education and outreach
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 03:45 PM - 04:00 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text This presentation reflects an experience of teaching history of the Arctic as applied and interdisciplinary history. Using and interpreting historical data enables historian to construct “usable pasts” as a tool for understanding the present and imagining possible and alternative avenues of future development. Teaching history in that way means trying to сhart multiple paths that connecting pasts and futures. This mode of learning is equally important for non-historian students and professionals (including not only anthropologists and political scientists, but also natural scientists) and for historians. Arctic is an ideal historically constructed region for interconnected use of approaches and materials from environmental, technological history and history of science and exploration, based on postcolonial perspectives, differentiation between key ‘ways of knowing’ and Anthropocene humanities. Three cornerstones the discussions of different regions and cases are based on are ‘resources’, ‘voices ‘and ‘governance‘ (Avango et al., 2013). Combination of these approaches allows presenting the Arctic in transnational, global and comparative perspectives and fully considering the importance of environmental factors for its pasts and futures. Teaching based on this philosophy had been tested on multidisciplinary groups of students in a regular classroom, during summer courses and in preparation of the courses for the new international MA program “Usable Pasts: Applied and Interdisciplinary History” at St. Petersburg campus of the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
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