COURSE: Greenland at the Crossroads: Climate change, Asian interests in the Arctic and developments in Greenland

Course content

The course will consider what Greenlandic actors can do with their overall ambitions of economic development and, eventually, statehood facing several big challenges stemming from internal and external pressures in the changing geopolitical context of the Arctic: Which ideas and  instruments of governance, economic resources, nation building and state formation is available for Greenland in the present circumstances? Ongoing climate changes have catapulted Greenland into the proclaimed role of the messenger of the rapid changes going on in the Arctic as a warning of future challenges globally. At the same time, Greenland is a gate to opportunities that the Arctic offers a growing world population with growing demands for resources that the climate change is reported to make more accessible.

The course will discuss scenarios for development in Greenland within the context of developments in the Arctic and in relations between Greenland and Denmark by focusing on dynamics in three areas of drastic change: Continuing climate change, increasing Asian interests in the Arctic together with the resulting governance implications for Greenland. Thus, the course will focus on possible answers to these intrusive questions for Greenland’s future: How to reform the Greenland economy and make it sustainable, how to make Greenland a natural resource exporter, including export of uranium, and maintain environmental, social and political sustainability, how to make Greenland a sovereign state, economically and politically independent from Denmark, and maintain its independence from other foreign states and multinational companies and retain Greenland as a safe and secure place? The course structure:

  1. Delimitations and characteristics of the Arctic and Greenland
  2. Climate change and impact on societies in the Arctic
  3. Geopolitics:  Security implications of Arctic developments
  4. Potentials for extractive industries in Greenland
  5. New shipping routes  and maritime security in Greenland
  6. Asia and implication of Asian interests in the Arctic
  7. Arctic governance and Greenland-Denmark relations 

 

Education

Elective in the specialization "International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies"

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The course objective is to enable students to demonstrate knowledge of the main strands of the scientific literature, reports and white papers within political theory, comparative politics and international relations

Skills: The course objective is to enable students to apply theories and analyse one or more cases comparing single aspect or/and asses the interactions of several aspects, and be able to make informed, analytical evaluations of the developments, present situation or/and future perspectives.

Competences: The course objective is to enable students to fulfil academic functions in public and private enterprises, and adequately handle these in national and international contexts, and successfully to continue their education at the postgraduate level.

The teaching will be based on the principle of ‘student-centred learning’ and take the form of lectures, student presentations and discussions as well as presentations by invited guests and visits at institutions dealing with different aspects of developments in the Arctic. Feedback and advice on the basis of a 1-3 pages synopsis/abstract of the final assignment submitted during the course.

The following is a preliminary reading list. The final list will posted on Absalon at the beginning of the course:

 

1) Delimitations and characteristics of the Arctic and Greenland

Gail Fondahl and Joan Nymand Larsen (2015). "Introduction". In: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl (eds.), Arctic Human Development Report. Regional Processes and Global Linkages. Nordic Council of Ministers, pp. 29-52. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.6027/TN2014-567.) (23 p.)

Timothy Heleniak (2015). "Arctic populations and migrations". In: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl (eds.), Arctic Human Development Report. Regional Processes and Global Linkages. Nordic Council of Ministers, pp. 53-104. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.6027/TN2014-567.) (52 p.)

Peter Schweitzer et al. (2015). “Cultures and Identities”. In: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl (eds.), Arctic Human Development Report. Regional Processes and Global Linkages. Nordic Council of Ministers, pp. 105-150.  (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.6027/TN2014-567.) (45 p.)

 

2) Climate change and impact on societies in the Arctic

John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard and David Schlosberg (2011). "Climate Change and Society: Approaches and Responses". In: John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, and David Schlosberg (eds), The Oxford handbook of climate change and society, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 3-17. (E-book available at REX.) (15 p.)

AMAP (2011). Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA): Climate Change and the Cryosphere. Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Chapter 9.1 (pp. 4-18) and  Chapter 9.4 (pp. 52-87) (Walter N. Meier et al.: “Changes in the Physical State of Sea Ice” and “Effect of Sea Ice Change on Human Society”). (Available online.) (50 p.)

AMAP (2011). Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA): Climate Change and the Cryosphere. Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Chapter 10, pp. 1-34) (Grete K. Hovelsrud et al., "Arctic Societies, Cultures, and Peoples in a Changing Cryosphere"). (Available online). (35 p.)

 

3) Potentials for extractive industries in Greenland

Bruce C. Forbes and Gary Kofinas (2015). “Resource Governance”. In: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl (eds.), Arctic Human Development Report. Regional Processes and Global Linkages. Nordic Council of Ministers, pp. 253-296. (Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.6027/TN2014-567.) (44 p.)

Mark Nuttall (2012). Imagining and governing the Greenlandic resource frontier. The Polar Journal, 2(1), 113-124. (E-journal available at REX.) (12 p.)

Nigel Bankes (2010). Oil, gas and mining developments in the Arctic: Legal issues. In: Natalia Loukacheva (ed.), Polar law textbook, Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, 101-123. (Available online.) (23 p.)

 

4) New shipping routes and maritime security in Greenland

Margaret Blunden (2012). Geopolitics and the Northern Sea Route. International Affairs. 88(1), 115-129. (E-journal available at REX). (15 p.)

National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (2013). The Challenges of Oil Spill Response in the Arctic. In: P.A. Berkman and A.N. Vylegzhanin (eds.), Environmental security in the Arctic Ocean. Dordrecht: Springer (NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security): 255–279. (E-book available at REX.) (25 p.)

Stefan Steinicke and Sascha Albrecht. 2012. Search and rescue in the Arctic. Berlin: SWP (Working Paper SG 2). (Available online at https://www.swp-berlin.org/de/publikationen.html.)

 

5) Asia and implications of Asian interests in the Arctic

Sanna Kopra (2013). "China's Arctic Interest".  In: Lassi Heininen (ed.), Arctic Yearbook 2013, Akureyri: Northern Research Forum, 107-124. (Available online.) (18 p.)

Linda Jakobson and Jinchao Peng (2012). China’s Arctic Aspirations, Stockholm: SIPRI (SIPRI Policy Paper, 34. (Available online at https://www.sipri.org/news/2012/chinas-arctic-aspirations.) (35 p.)

Linda Jakobson and Seong-Hyon Lee (2013). The North East Asian states’ interests in the Arctic and possible cooperation with the Kingdom of Denmark. Stockholm: SIPRI. (Available online at https://www.sipri.org/publications/2013/north-east-asian-states-interests-arctic-and-possible-cooperation-kingdom-denmark.) (52 p.)

Nong Hong and Anita Dey Nuttall (2014). Emerging Interests of Non-Arctic Countries in the Arctic. In: Robert W. Murray and Anita Dey Nuttall, international relations and the arctic: understanding policy and governance, Amherst: Cambria, 573-598.

 

6) Geopolitics:  Security implications of Arctic developments

Rolf Tamnes and Sven G. Holtsmark (2014). The Geopolitics of the Arctic in Historical Perspective. In: Rolf Tamnes and Kristine Offerdal (eds.), Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic, London and New York: Routledge, 12-48. (35 p.)

Greg Poelzer and Gary N. Wilson (2015). “Governance in the Arctic. Political Systems and Geopolitics”. In: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl (eds.), Arctic Human Development Report. Regional Processes and Global Linkages. Nordic Council of Ministers, pp. 185-222. (Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.6027/TN2014-567.) (38 p.)

Charles K. Ebinger and Evie Zambetakis (2009), The Geopolitics of Arctic Melt, International Affairs, 85(6), 1215-1232. (E-journal available at REX.) (18 p.)

 

7) Arctic governance and Greenland-Denmark relations

Maria Ackrén and Uffe Jakobsen (2015). Greenland as a self-governing sub-national territory in international relations: past, current and future perspectives. Polar Record, 51(4), 404-412 (DOI: 10.1017/S003224741400028X) (E-journal available at REX.) (9 p.)

Natalia Loukacheva (2010). Arctic Governance. In: Natalia Loukacheva (ed.), Polar Law Textbook, Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, 125-146. (Available online at http://www.polarlaw.is/en/publications/polar-law-textbooks.) (22 p.)

Heather Exner-Pirot (2012). "New Directions for Governance in the Arctic Region". In: Lassi Heininen (ed.), Arctic Yearbook 2012, Akureyri: Northern Research Forum, 225-246 (available online). (22 p.)

Nadine C. Fabbi (2012). "Inuit political engagement in the Arctic". Lassi Heininen (ed.), Arctic Yearbook 2012, Akureyri: Northern Research Forum, 161-179. (Available online.) (19 p.)

Jessica Shadian (2010). From states to polities: Reconceptualizing sovereignty through Inuit governance. European Journal of International Relations, 16(3), 485-510 (E-journal available at REX.) (26 p.)

Jens Dahl (1986). Greenland: Political Structure and Self-Government. Arctic Anthropology, 23(1-2), 315-324 (E-journal available at REX.) (10 p.)

Mark Nuttall (2008). Self-rule in Greenland: Towards the World’s First Independent Inuit State?, Indigenous Affairs, 2008(3-4), 64-70. (E-journal available at REX.) (7 p.)

Klaus Dodds (2015). From Ilulissat to Kiruna: managing the Arctic Council and the contemporary geopolitics of the Arctic. In: Leif Christian Jensen and Geir Hønneland (eds), Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic, Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar, 375-387.

 

Feedback will be provided in continuation of student presentations and on the basis of the synopsis/abstract of the final assignment submitted during the course.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Written
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28