"Examine the relationship between culture, sustainability and human responsibility..."


5-15 June 2015


Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-term Environmental Change: Transformations of Iceland from the Viking Era through the late Medieval Period (CE 850-1500):


An interdisciplinary course in the Environmental Humanities and Social Sciences Bárðardalur, Northern Iceland


Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-term Environmental Change is an intensive ten-day summer course (7.5 ECTS*) for masters and doctoral students who wish to supplement their studies with a unique site-specific curriculum in the environmental humanities and social sciences. The course involves multiple excursions and lectures in the field and integrates perspectives, theories, case studies and methodologies from the following disciplines:


• Literary Ecocriticism

• Environmental History

• Environmental Archeology

• Environmental Anthropology

• Integrated Digital & Environmental Humanities

• Historical Ecology

• Saga Studies

• Palaeoecology


With a thoroughly interdisciplinary orientation to case-based study, the course engages a range of questions concerning the human dimensions of environmental change and the effects of such change on environments and societies. In particular the course foregrounds questions of long‐term societal resilience in the face of climate change, competition and societal conflict over natural resources, effects of early globalization and anthropogenic transformation of landscapes and ecosystems at multiple times scales.


The course consists of a series of seminars, lectures and field-study visits on closely related research topics and themes within the environmental humanities for the benefit of approximately 20 international participants.  Senior researchers  from each of the key disciplines anchoring the course, many of them active at the forefront of the field of Integrated Environmental Humanities and Social Sciences, will lecture during the course's intensive daily sessions, which also include mentoring tutorials with participating grad students. All lectures and coursework will be in English.


Building upon the successful course Environmental Memory and Change in Medieval Iceland organized in August 2014, Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-term Environmental Change is co-organized by The Svartarkot Culture-Nature project, The Reykjavik Academy, City University of New York and Mid Sweden University, in close cooperation with NABO (The North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation), NIES (The Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies), GHEA (The Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance) and the Circumpolar Networks case of IHOPE (The Integrated History and Future of People on Earth), a core project of Future Earth. The course is accredited by University of Akureyri.


The full course plan will be available online in late March/early April. In the meantime prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the webpage for last summer's intensive course on Environmental Memory and Change in Medieval Iceland (10 ECTS) for a clearer sense of the course's interdisciplinary content, readings and approaches. Though scaled to 7.5 ECTS, the 2015 summer course will build upon similar cases and readings and involve many of the same lecturers as in 2014, while also integrating new hands-on digital-humanities components.



See Summer of 2014



Cost: $2,950 per person includes room and board, excursions, lectures, and on-site materials. Please note that airfare and other transportation costs are NOT included.


Application deadline: 15 March 2015


Application Form


Instructors 2015


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*) European Credit Transfer System