About Arctic Circle

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Who We Are

The idea culminating in Arctic Circle originated during a symposium on 'The Use of the World Wide Web in Education,' sponsored by the Faculty Resource Laboratory at the University of Connecticut in February of 1995. Following a presentation by Thomas Plunkett and Jonathan Lizee, co-developers of ArchNet, the WWW Virtual Library for Archaeology, they were joined by Norman Chance, an arctic anthropologist, interested in finding ways to expand knowledge of the Circumpolar North to a wider audience of students, educators, policy makers, environmental planners, and others. Together, we came up with the concept of an 'electronic' Arctic Circle. After a month of planning, support was obtained from the Director of the University of Connecticut's Homer Babbidge Library. Shortly thereafter, Arctic Circle settled into its new home on the 'Spirit of Uconn' library server. Today, Norman Chance serves as convener of the site. Viewers with comments and suggestions for improvement are encouraged to contact Arctic Circle at any time.

What We Are About

The overall goal of Arctic Circle is to stimulate among viewers a greater interest in the peoples and environment of the Arctic and Subarctic region. As stated on the Welcome page, this 'electronic circle' has three interrelated themes: natural resources; history and culture; social equity and environmental justice. In addressing these issues, the presentations utilize a range of textual and photographic materials, and in the near future, sound and short video recordings. Specific topics include discussions of Sustainability, Equity, and Environmental Protection; Northern Development and the Global Economy; Ethnographic Portraits of indigenous peoples in Alaska, Canada, Northwest Siberia, etc.; and specific studies dealing with the impact of petroleum, gas, hydroelectric, and other forms of large scale natural resource development in selected regions of the Circumpolar North. New material is being added on a regular basis.

Also, with the assistance of Native northerners and other contributors, we are writing up a series of case studies comparing the social, and cultural impact of natural resource and other forms of development in regions with substantial indigenous populations. This year, these initial case studies - including additional material drawn from the Web - are being utilized in our virtual classroom, designed for high school, college, and university students wishing to learn more about the North, its peoples, and environment. Several educational institutions in the United States and Canada are assisting in the development of this experimental form of distance learning.

Where We Obtained Support

Support for the Arctic Circle World Wide Web Project has come from many sources over many months. Recent funding for research addressing human-environmental relations in Alaska and Siberia was generously provided to the convener by the University of Connecticut Research Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Earlier ethnographic research in Alaska and Canada was supported by Arctic Institute of North America; the American Philosophical Society; the Russell Sage Foundation; and the Canadian Government.

Significient institutional assistance has been contributed by the Commission on Inupiat History, Language, and Culture of the North Slope Borough Planning Department, Barrow, Alaska; the Anchorage regional office of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference; McGill University's Centre for Northern Studies and the Department of Geography's Northern Studies Program, Montreal, Canada; the Arctic Institute of North America, Calgary, Alberta; Institute of Arctic Studies and Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College; Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Finland; Institute for Systems Analysis, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; Institute of History and Archeology, Russian Academy of Sciences at Eketerinburg; and the Administration of the Yamal-Nenets Okrug, Russian Federation.

Additional technical assistance has come from several sources including the 'Spirit Team' of the Babbidge library and the Faculty Resource and Multimedia Laboratories of the University of Connecticut Computer Center.


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