Geopolitics of The Arctic

The end of the Cold War as well as global climate change has meant a major change in the Arctic region. New opportunities have arisen for both Arctic states and societies, namely cooperation in several areas such as security and economic, social and human development. However there are new challenges, such as those directly provoked by global warming.

The course will therefore look at issues like the importance of Arctic natural resources (e.g. gas, oil, rare minerals) and energy politics, the possibility of the development of trans-Arctic maritime routes and the rise or reappearance of political conflicts (e.g. territorial claims, claims of state sovereignty by indigenous societies, regional governance).

The course aims to give students an understanding of a broad selection of political, economic, security, environmental and social issues that make the Arctic a region of growing importance in the international system.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course, students should:

  • Understand the key developments in Arctic natural environment, regional security and governance.
  • Be able to analyze and to evaluate current and future developments in the Arctic region, as well as their implications for global environment and security.

Course Content

The course will be divided into the following topics:

  1. The Arctic region in a historical point of view and definition of the Arctic
  2. Arctic energy politics
  3. Trans-Arctic maritime routes / New shipping routes
  4. Territorial claims and legal conflict
  5. Arctic societies and self-determination issues (e.g. Greenland)
  6. Regional governance structures (e.g. the Arctic Council) and regional cooperation.