UVM Continuing and Distance Education Brattleboro Lecture Series - UVM Continuing and Distance Education

Brattleboro Lecture Series

Fall 2018


The Arctic: Past, Present, Future

Presented by James Jordan, Jean Kayira, and Alesia Maltz of Antioch University New England

The Arctic is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing ecosystems on the planet, yet our scientific and social understanding of it is nascent relative to our historical and contemporary focus on the mid-latitudes, especially in the West. The remoteness and sparseness of its Indigenous and colonial human populations have contributed to a general lack of awareness among the general public. But its immense natural resources, influential role in northern hemisphere weather and climate, contested social-cultural and political realities, and aspirations of the eight Arctic countries have recently sharpened the attention of many lower-latitude sectors. This lecture series will review environmental and cultural dimensions of the Arctic in the contexts of its past, present, and future.

Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to Noon

The Arctic: Definitions of Geography, Natural Landscapes and the “Arctic” Ecosystem (Jim)

How do/should we define the Arctic? Here we will examine the geographic, climatologic, ecological, social, and political definitions and constructs of the Arctic and Subarctic.
Animal-ing and Peopling of the Arctic: End of the Ice Age, Adaptations to a Harsh Land of Plenty – 15,000 to 400 years Before Present (Jim)

Much, but surprisingly not all, of the Arctic was covered by ice sheets and glaciers during the last ice age. Plants, animals, and humans successfully adapted to environments marginal to the ice, and rapidly expanded throughout the Arctic and into North and South America at the end of the ice age.
Euro-American exploration, resource exploitation, cultural interactions and environmental impacts and legacies (Jim)

By 500 years ago, the pursuit of sea mammals, whales, and the purported Northwest Passage brought Indigenous occupants into contact with Spanish, Russians, Norse, and Euro-Americans, often with deleterious outcomes. The later “discovery” of gold, oil, and minerals set in motion cycles of intensive resource exploration and exploitation, the cultural and environmental impacts of which continue to this day.
Youth, Elders and Cultural Continuity: Climate Change Adaptation Research and Praxis in Goose Bay, Labrador (Jean and Alesia)

The people of Goose Bay, Labrador, are facing tremendous change, both from climate and large-scale energy development. The Innu, Inuit, and Metis communities are responding with decolonizing methodologies developed by and for the communities, and by passing on cultural traditions from elders to youth.
Latitudes of Change: Arctic Climate and Environment in the 20th, 21st Centuries and Beyond (Jim)

The climate of Arctic and Subarctic climate is characterized by seasonal extremes of dark and light and cold and warmth. Global climate change, especially during the past 30 years, has had disproportionate impacts on Arctic marine and terrestrial environments, ecosystems, and human livelihoods. We will examine these trends, challenges, and evolving adaptation strategies.
Looking Forward: Circum-Arctic Governance, National and International Constructs, Conventions, and Initiatives (Jim)

The Cold War re-established the geopolitical importance of the Arctic to the West and the Soviet Union but, more importantly, set in motion a series of Indigenous and international initiatives to define and develop constructs that emphasize self-determination, land tenure, and the sustainability of Arctic environments and peoples. From the establishment of the Alaska Federation of Natives to stop nuclear testing in Northwest Alaska, to international disputes over “ownership” of the Arctic Ocean and seafloor, we will conclude the series with an overview of organizations that are charting the path forward.


About the Presenters

James Jordan, PhD, is a Core faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE and director of the Field Studies program. His interests include Arctic and Subarctic climate and environmental change, archaeology, and geomorphology.

Alesia Maltz, PhD, is a Core faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE and director of the Interdisciplinary MA Program. Her interests include environmental history, indigenous knowledge, and the relationship between food and environment.

Jean Kayira, PhD, is a Core Faculty member in the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE and co-director of the Doctoral program. Her interests include environmental education, indigenous youth education, and decolonizing methodologies.

WHERE WE MEET: New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat Street, Brattleboro, Vermont.

DIRECTIONS: From the South or the North: I-91 to exit 2. Left off exit ramp onto Western Avenue (VT-9). Follow about a quarter mile, bear left at “Y” in road. At traffic light, Main Street (US-5), turn right. Go 2 blocks to Flat Street and turn right onto Flat Street. The theatre is down the street on the left.

QUESTIONS: Please call Julie Lavorgna at 802-365-7278, or e-mail julielavorgna@gmail.com.

In case of inclement weather, please listen to 96.7 WTSA-FM or consult www.wtsa.net.

Membership Information


$30 individual (6 sessions)
$50 couple (6 sessions)

Individual lectures are open to nonmembers for a fee of $6 per lecture.

We encourage attendees to pre-register by mail so as to avoid delays at on-site check-in.

For membership, complete the form on the site brochure or click on this membership form. Mail your completed form with your payment to:

(payable to “The University of Vermont”)
UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.

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