This course, unique in Italy as well as in Southern Europe, is at the same time an introduction to the most significant contemporary and recent legal, economic and political issues of the Circumpolar Arctic region. The aim of the course is to provide students with an exciting opportunity to focus on the Arctic as a global region. The second objective of the course is to promote understanding of the polar regions and their connection with the rest of the world. The third objective is to examine the implications of the main issues for the future of the Arctic (notably those related to sustainable development), considering this region as a mirror and 'thermometer' of the contemporary world. Finally, the last objective is to promote the development of students' skills, such as critical thinking, evidence-based research, advanced reading and rigorous analysis.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course, the student will have acquired a broad interdisciplinary background in the Arctic region, an understanding of the main issues of politics, geopolitics, law, and the contemporary global Arctic economy. By the end of the course, students will develop a special ability to critically analyze contemporary developments in Arctic politics, climate change, international law, Arctic economics, Arctic policy contradictions, governmental circumpolar projects, extraction of natural resources, interference by major Arctic and non-Arctic actors involved in Arctic politics and their consequences, as well as an understanding of the implications of Arctic issues for sustainable development.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
After a brief introduction, the course will explore the current international orientations of Arctic research, with particular attention to Critical Arctic Studies. The course will focus on the problem underlying the contemporary problems of the circumpolar region, i.e. climate change, which is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as the rest of the planet. The course will address issues related to the legal regime of the Arctic Ocean, the continental shelf extension, natural resources and development Arctic political, legal and economic governance, the scramble for the Arctic, International Relations in the Arctic and the Arctic as a region of cooperation or conflict. A large part of the course will be dedicated to the emerging issue of new sea routes in the Arctic Ocean, the renewed militarization of the Arctic, how the Arctic Ocean can transform international trade, the problems that may arise from the implementation of hydrocarbon extraction projects, China's expanding Arctic interests and sustainable development and the problem of how to maintain Arctic cooperation with Russia. Finally, attention will be paid to the role of international cooperation institutions in the region (not only the role of the Arctic Council), the participation of states and non-state actors in the Arctic environmental governance and the problems of indigenous peoples, their self-government, especially in the field of Arctic environment preservation.
Prerequisites for admission
Prerequisites to attending the Course are a good knowledge of Arctic Geography, Law of the Sea and the problems of contemporary international relations connected to the Arctic.
The course will involve face-to-face lectures, constant interaction with the students attending, the participation of experts, class discussions, group work. All students are strongly encouraged to actively participate during class discussions and activities. To enhance students' international opportunities in this field of research, this course has widespread connections with a range of organizations and continues to increase scientific international relations around the globe.
The reference material of the Course is entirely provided on the Ariel platform, on which are available both the articles indicated to the students as reading (compulsory and recommended) which must be done before each lesson, and the books necessary to take the final exam. Further material will be indicated during the Course. One of the most important reference books, which must be read in the parts indicated in the Syllabus for every single lesson, is:
FONDAHL G., WILSON G. N., (eds) Northern Sustainabilities: Understanding and Addressing Change in the Circumpolar North, Springer Polar Sciences, Springer International Publishing, Cham (Switzerland), 2017
Since attendance of the course is compulsory, there is no program for non-attending students.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The examination will take place in the scheduled sessions. Students are required to prepare in advance for each lesson by studying the material indicated in the Syllabus (on the Ariel platform). They will have the opportunity to voluntarily prepare an oral presentation (individually or in groups, after presenting the topics for approval) and present it in class (using PowerPoint). Students will be assessed on their ability to examine their specific topic, to draw logical conclusions and their ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Instead of a classroom presentation, each student will have the opportunity to write a research essay of no more than 3000 words (about 12 pages with double spacing, plus references) on specific topics related to the course material. Detailed instructions will be provided in class. There will also be the possibility to conclude the course with a written exam (where questions to the student are given in written form) during normal exam sessions. The student must answer the questions in such a way as to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the subject to pass the exam. Students will also be assessed on their contributions to class discussions. The final grade will be for each type of exam: "Approved" (A) / "Not Approved" (NA)