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ASLE 2012

Environment, Culture & Place in a Rapidly Changing North

ASLE Off-Year Regional Symposium
June 14-17, 2012

The North American “North” of Alaska and Canada is an excellent geographical imaginary through which to understand the human-nature concerns of our time. Ecosystems transgress national boundaries, for instance, and Northern communities experience the symptoms of climate change disproportionately relative to their contribution to its acceleration. A symposium focusing on “the North” suggests a transnational perspective of this paradox, as well as a range of concerns, from peak oil and climate change to traditional ecological knowledge and tourism. While the North is often seen as an isolated place with a unique character, safe from the economic and environmental woes of “down south,” this imaginary belies the North’s place within transnational phenomena, such as colonialism, global climate change, and globalization.

The symposium’s keynote speaker will be Julie Cruikshank, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at University of British Columbia, and author of Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters and Social Imagination. Plenary speaker, Ellen Frankenstein, will screen her documentary film, Eating Alaska, Ernestine Hayes, author of Blonde Indian, will do a reading from her current work, as well as Nancy Lord, who just published Early Warming: Crisis and Response to the Climate-Charged North.