Northern Studies / English 620 Images of the North

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Northern Studies / English 620

Images of the North

Conflating Myth and History

James Ruppert Spring 2006

Gruening 846

Office # 474-6605
Interdisciplinary approaches to the variety of images about the people and environment of the circumpolar North. The course will analyze conceptualizations of the North as expressed in a number of media such as film, art, literature, travel journals, and oral tradition employing methodologies from many disciplines.
Catherine Attla, K'etetaalkkaanee: the One who Paddled Among the People and Animals.
Emily Ivanoff Brown, The Longest Story Ever Told,
Magnus Magnusson, trans. The Vinland Sagas
Reading packet available in bookstore.

One oral report on a research topic which enhances the course material. One research paper of significant quality.

The course will embrace an interdisciplinary approach to create a juxtaposition which emphasizes cultural and humanistic visions of the North. Such a juxtaposition will develop critical analysis of the concepts of self, wilderness, community, harmony. reciprocity, and cultural identity. The instruction will take advantage of the analyses recently developed in cultural studies, history, philosophy, and literature.
a. To encourage the student to explore the richness of individual cultures and nations of the North.
b. To develop an appreciation of the similarities between Northern peoples and nations.
c. To elaborate humanistic methodologies appropriate to an emerging field of cross-cultural research.
d. To explore the manner in which expression of the image of the North reflects creative response to the environment.
e. To stimulate the student's creative and cultural expression of his/her images of the North


1-24 Introduction
1-31 Mythic structures - Longest Story Ever Told, Reading #1
2/7 Mythic structures --– Longest Story, K'etetaalkkaanee, Reading #2,
2/14 Mythic structures -- K'etetaalkkaanee, Reading #3
2/21 Contact Narratives -- Readings #4
2/28 Vinland Sagas
3/7 Contact Narratives -- Readings #5, #6, & #18
3/14 Spring Break
3/21 Contact Narratives -- Readings #7, #10
3/28 Contact Narratives -- Reading #8 & #9
4/4 SE historical accounts -- Reading #11 & #12
4/11 Travel and Exploration -- Readings #13 & #14
4/18 Myth and History, #15 & #16
4/25 Reading #17 and Conclusions
5/2 Research presentations


1. Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality (NY: Harper & Row, 1963) pp. 1-20.
2. Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978) pp. 1-25, 81-100.
3. Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return (New York: Pantheon Books, 1954) pp. 34-48.
4. Johan Turi, Turi's Book of Lappland (New York: Harper, 1910) pp. 9-27, 172-201.
5. William Oquilluk, People of Kauwerak (Anchorage: Alaska Pacific University Press, 1981) pp. 216-223.
6. James Kari, ed. Tat'ahwt'aenn Nen', The Headwaters People's Country (Alaska Native Language Center, 1986)
7. Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer, Haa Shuka, Our Ancestors: Tlingit Oral Narratives (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1987) pp. 292-309.
8. Henry Rink, Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, (London: Blackwood, 1875) rpt AMS Press: 308-25.
9. Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World. 1-25.
10. Catherine McClellan, "Indian Stories about the First Whites” in Northwestern America," in Ethnohistory in Southwestern Alaska and the Southern Yukon: Method and Content. Volume 7, Studies in Anthropology, Margaret Lantis ed. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970) pp. 103-133.
11. Hayden White, The Content of Form (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987) pp. 1-25.
12. R.N. De Armond, Early Visitors to Southeastern Alaska (Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, 1978) 1-53.
13. Robert Hood, To the Arctic by Canoe 1819-1821 ed. C. Stuart Houston (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1974) pp. 71-120.
14. Rudy Wiebe, “Exercising Reflection,” Playing Dead (Edmonton: NeWest Publishers: 1989) pp. 1-45.
15. L.E. Hamelin, "Images of the North," Canadian Nordicity: It's Your North Too (Montreal: Harvest House, 1979) pp. 1-13.
16. S. D. Grant, "Myths of the North in the Canadian Ethos," The Northern Review 3/4 (1989): 15-41.
17. Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, “Country of the Mind,” 31 pages on e-reserve
18. Mimac Texts, on e-reserve, 21 pages

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