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Grad course: People and Environmental Change in Medieval Iceland

Graduate students from across the Northern Hemisphere gathered in Iceland, in August 2014 for a unique course integrating the humanities and social sciences: Environmental memory and change in Medieval Iceland. The course focused on risk and vulnerability in Iron-Age and Medieval Iceland, addressing questions of long-term societal resilience in the face of risks from climate change, internal conflict, rapid landscape change, pandemic disease, and the impact of early globalization. The approach united environmental archaeology and anthropology, digital and environmental humanities, historical ecology, and environmental history and features a substantial field component. A team of researchers, including Astrid Ogilvie, led the course.

The organizers are offering a related course in June 2015 in Bárðardalur, northern Iceland. Titled "Understanding the Human Dimensions of Long-Term Environmental Change: Transformations of Iceland from the Viking Era through the Late Medieval Period (CE 850–1500)," the intensive ten-day summer course is open to masters and doctoral students and postdocs 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 a range of theoretical approaches. The experience 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 time scales. See the course web site to apply before 15 March 2015, or download the course flyer.

At a farm location near the study site, Viðar Hreinsson of the Reykjavik Academy gives an outdoor lecture on the use of farm buildings in times past. Photo by Astrid Ogilvie, August 2014.Students pick blueberries to supplement their lunches during a field trip. Photo by Astrid Ogilvie, August 2014.Astrid Ogilvie during a field day.A sample of Iceland2014 class during a field expedition.Field trip scenery.Apply for summer 2015 course at http://scn.akademia.is