Recent Submissions

  • Indigenous self-determination in co-production of knowledge

    Rudolf, Margaret Hope Cysewski; Trainor, Sarah; Hirsch, Alexander; Hum, Richard; Topkok, Sean Asikłuk (2023-12)
    Analyzing and comprehending co-production of knowledge (CPK) in the context of working with Arctic Indigenous communities on climate change research is the main goal for this interdisciplinary doctoral dissertation. CPK is shared decision-making on every step of the research process with research partners from communities, agencies, or organizations. CPK with Arctic Indigenous communities requires dedicated consideration of equity, ethics, cultural worldviews, and colonization. Key concepts from Indigenous critical methodologies are used to analyze both the CPK theory and implementation. CPK has the potential to be an ethical space to question the status quo of research processes and support Indigenous self-determination. Critiquing NSF's Navigating the New Arctic as a case study, there were many missteps in not following CPK in the development of the program and projects, along with not following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (Ch. 2). There are significant lessons to be learned from the literature on collaborative methodology, including Indigenous methodologies. Through synthesis work, a model was developed compiling factors of success to achieving CPK along with a discussion of perspectives on those factors and success metrics. The objective of the synthesis work is the development of tools to support transparent communication and co-design of research projects (Ch. 3). CPK happens in-between the boundaries of disciplines, cultures, and science-policy-community. Thirteen experts in boundary spanning co-produced lessons-learned and recommendations based on their expertise and experiences. The project co-produced strategies to overcome funding barriers and the cultural divide to Alaska Native communities utilizing a boundary analysis framework (Ch. 4). Applying the CPK and boundary spanning concepts, themes of success in improving Arctic observing were developed from homogenous focus groups. With thirty-four participants representing scientists, science coordination experts, policy experts, and Indigenous community leaders and scholars, co-analysis was impractical. Following the Rapid Assessment Process utilizing focus groups, themes of success and corresponding science and Indigenous perspectives were developed (Ch. 5).
  • Preserving reflections of ourselves: the past, present, and future of Alaska's museums

    Linn, Angela J.; Ehrlander, Mary; Koskey, Michael; Jonaitis, Aldona (2023-12)
    While museums are very good at collecting, preserving, documenting, and interpreting the histories of our communities, we have not done a very good job with our own histories. No comprehensive publication holistically examines the development of museums in Alaska, let alone looks critically at the "big three" (Alaska State Museums, University of Alaska Museum of the North, and the Anchorage Museum) with a goal of establishing a connection between the historical context, the individuals who shaped those museums, and the institutions' current states of being. This dissertation uses the academic fields of history, museology, and ethnography to discover and analyze how we find ourselves in the current state, while offering suggestions for moving ahead in a positive way. In this dissertation I examine the past, present, and future of Alaska's museums. I do this by first assembling a more complete history of the "big three" using archival primary sources, published literature, and interviews. Second, I examine the current state of museums with their strengths and challenges through a combination of literature review, interviews, surveys, and participant observation. Finally, I consider the way Alaska's museums might respond to the changes facing museums around the world by reflecting on current museological literature, current events, and examining two case studies based on my work at the University of Alaska Museum of the North located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • From Siberian dawn to midnight in Siberia: the geopolitics of Anglophone travel writing about post-Soviet Siberia

    Christian, Benjamin D.; Heyne, Eric; Farmer, Daryl; Ehrlander, Mary (2023-12)
    The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened Siberia as a new "travelers' frontier." Travel writers seeking destinations unspoiled by the encroachment of global capitalism and the resultant "placeless" landscapes made Siberia the subject of numerous travel books. This thesis critically examines the geopolitical discourses embedded in those books. Through a close reading and discourse analysis of three representative samples spanning the post-Cold War period, it highlights the key tropes, images and discourses that Anglophone travel writers have deployed in their constructions of Russia as a geopolitical Other. Travel writers writing about Siberia during the post-Cold War period explicitly and implicitly engaged with, reproduced, argued against, adopted, and adapted popular geopolitical treatises such as Francis Fukuyama's "End of History" thesis, Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, and Robert Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" thesis, ultimately producing works that frame Russia as an irredeemable and timeless rival to a normalized West. More generally, this thesis argues that scholars of critical and popular geopolitics need to engage more directly and more robustly with literary productions such as travel writing in order to elucidate the geopolitical messaging of such texts.
  • From colonization to conservation: examining representations of nonhuman Arctic animals in British children's literature during the long nineteenth century

    Ney, Hannah; Schell, Jennifer; Boylan, Brandon; Arndt, Katherine (2023-08)
    This paper examines the impact of British children's literature on shaping attitudes toward the Arctic and its nonhuman animals during the long nineteenth century. As the British renewed their interest in the Arctic, authors used children's literature to convey imperial ambitions and shape beliefs about the region. Using an ecocritical lens, this analysis demonstrates that the crafting of nonhuman animal portrayals helped shape children's beliefs about the Arctic and its role in the British Empire. The literature showcased illustrates a significant shift in British attitudes toward the human-environment relationship, moving from exploration to exploitation to protection. Early exploration narratives introduced the idea of limitless wildlife populations and encouraged children's interest in natural history, while later anthropocentric adventure stories reinforced beliefs about empire by pitting humans against wild creatures. Ecocentric Arctic fiction published in the last third of the period challenged beliefs about resource colonization and fostered conversations about conservation by using ecohorror and writing from the perspectives of wild creatures to evoke empathy in readers, ultimately decentering people and shifting British beliefs about Arctic nonhuman animals moving into the twentieth century.
  • Voices from the "Packy Board Palace": student reflections on the experience and legacy of Copper Valley School

    Klemm, Elizabeth; Boylan, Brandon M.; Wight, Philip; Gemmell, Stephen (2022-08)
    As a whole, the residential school experience holds a complicated legacy for Native American and Alaska Native communities. The history of residential schools for Indigenous children includes acculturation, instances of abuse, and generational trauma. In many cases, Indigenous children throughout the United States and Canada were removed from their families and forced to attend Western schools that banned their Native cultures, traditions, and languages. However, some former residential school students also attest to the positive experience of attending some of these schools, noting the educational opportunities they received, as well as the community and friendships they established at those schools. Their experiences highlight the complicated legacy of residential schools. This project analyzes the experiences students had while attending Copper Valley School, a Catholic residential school located near Glennallen, Alaska. The school was in operation between 1956 and 1971 and was established to provide a college preparatory education for Alaska Native students. Based on archival material and interviews with alumni, this project examines the education and student experience at Copper Valley School. The project allowed space for all student experiences, positive and negative. The former Copper Valley students interviewed for this project attested to a largely positive experience at the school, while noting that the school did have several institutional shortcomings. This project argues that the quality of education, the participation of lay volunteers, the integration of the school, and the community at the school all contributed to positive experiences for the project participants.
  • Pistons to pipelines: the relationship between aviation, oil and the development of the North

    Berriochoa, Daniel; Wight, Philip; Boylan, Brandon; Tordoff, Dirk; Decker, Joseph (2023-05)
    Infrastructure development in the North is tied directly to military and private explorations for oil, national defense, and the use of aviation that provided access to remote regions. World War II drove the initial infrastructure development in Northwest Canada and the North Slope of Alaska, which linked aviation to oil and provided access points for further Arctic development. The Cold War brought the military back to the Arctic, using existing infrastructure to construct the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, the largest construction project ever attempted in the North at that time. Aviation provided the transportation flexibility necessary to accomplish the project and expanded aviation infrastructure in the North. All of this coalesced with the exploration and discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the subsequent airlift that allowed rapid development of the oil field.
  • Among the Dene: Allen's 1885 trans-Alaska expedition

    Vander Lugt, Russell W.; Ehrlander, Mary; Boylan, Brandon; Heaton, John; Koester, David; Cole, Terrence (2022-08)
    In 1885, U.S. Army Lieutenant Henry T. Allen crossed Alaska for the purpose of obtaining all information "valuable and important," especially to the military branch of government. The following year, the Secretary of War submitted Allen's much-anticipated report of a reconnaissance in Alaska to the U.S. Senate. Although the Senate ratified a treaty transferring Russian America to the United States nearly two decades earlier, and Alaska had been a Russian colony for over a century, the interior of Alaska - the homeland of Alaska's Dene people - remained largely unknown to the outside world. With constant assistance while traveling among the Dene, Allen surveyed twenty-five hundred miles of Dene territory including the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk Rivers. From the North Pacific, the Dene guided Allen across the Alaska Range and north to the Arctic Circle, then west to the Bering Sea. Though scholars then and now have recognized Allen's expedition as the most comprehensive exploration of Alaska and the earliest documentation of Dene lifeways in much of Alaska's Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, this dissertation presents the first scholarly work entirely focused on the expedition. An interdisciplinary approach and narrative history provide the framework for evaluating the expedition's place in U.S. and Alaska history, particularly regarding Allen's noteworthy interactions with Indigenous peoples and his ethnographic and cartographic contributions. With Dene support, Allen recorded the social and physical environment throughout much of Alaska's interior prior to direct colonial influences and resultant rapid and irrevocable change. The expedition's primary sources, combined with documented Dene perspectives, illustrate positive Indigenous-military relations. Mutually respectful interactions between Allen and Alaska's Dene who played an integral role in the expedition's success remain a legacy of the expedition. The character traits that contributed to Allen's success in 1885 eventually led to his selection by General Pershing and President Wilson to lead America's occupation in Germany following World War I. Whether mediating conflict in Europe or managing complex cross-cultural encounters along North America's borderlands during his trans-Alaska expedition, Allen's respectfulness and humanitarianism serve as a benchmark for positive civil-military relations.
  • Cartography, territory and empire mapping the Alaska boundary dispute, 1821-1903

    Letzring, Michael; Ehrlander, Mary; Boylan, Brandon; Falk, Marvin; Maio, Christopher (2022-08)
    In the wake of the Klondike gold rush of 1898 a long-simmering dispute over the boundary between Alaska territory and British-America (Canada) rose to a boil. The disagreement between the United States and England was a combination of imperial arrogance, geographic ignorance, administrative neglect, and diplomatic brinksmanship. At every step the dispute was fueled by colonial cartography and served an eventual European/Euro-American hegemony over the indigenous Tlingit people. In this dissertation, a series of three papers will describe and analyze the precursors and resolution of the Alaska Boundary Dispute in part by employing novel methods of analysis of historical maps that the respective colonial powers used to establish their sovereign claims and then re-introduced as evidence in the 1903 tribunal. The research in this project examines the transformation and reordering of geographic knowledge through the employment of cartography of the Northwest Coast, but also reveals by deductive analysis of the same maps the underlying power struggle between colonial Europeans and Indigenous Americans. Colonial cartography contributed to a competition for imperial space on the Northwest Coast and the analysis of colonial mapping reveals a legacy of geography mediating history, maps creating territory, and the power of geographic knowledge.
  • Northern vistas: a retrospective of the rural Alaskan Volunteers in service to America program 1965-1971

    Hoefler, Carol Fuiten; Ehrlander, Mary F.; McCartney, Leslie; Wight, Philip (2022-08)
    This thesis examines the Volunteers in Service to America program as it operated in rural Alaska from 1965 to 1971. Oral histories, correspondence from the volunteers, trainers and stakeholders offer a rich historical perspective of the program's successes and failures. Remote and underdeveloped village conditions presented daunting operational challenges to the program and its volunteers. During the study period, rural Alaska underwent dramatic social and political changes as recent statehood and looming resource development necessitated resolution of Native land claims. A series of new federal anti-poverty initiatives and the transfer of existing agencies to state and local oversight presented opportunities for volunteer participation. From a national perspective, the program struggled as political tides shifted and conflicting ideologies impacted its mission. Through analysis of interviews and written accounts, this study raises questions about the volunteers' perceived mission as it relates to these rapidly changing conditions. It provides a lens for evaluation of the program's successes and failures. It recognizes the volunteers' efforts and reveals the serendipitous outcome of continued Alaskan civic participation from many of its original volunteers. This study highlights their efforts and demonstrates how the rural "VISTA Alaska" contributed to the development of a cohort of young professionals committed to lasting careers in service areas that have benefited rural Alaska and underserved populations.
  • Look North Tokyo: Japanese business in post-World War II Alaska

    Bateman, Pierce A.; Ehrlander, Mary; Heaton, John; Coen, Ross (2022-08)
    Since the early 1950s, Alaska and Japan have engaged in both economic and cultural exchanges that have made lasting impacts on the 49th State. For the nearly 75-year-long relationship, Japan was Alaska's number one trade partner by the measure of its exports, worth at its height in 1992, well over $3 billion. From products like timber, fish, and natural gas, Alaska had the raw resources that Japan lacked, while Japan had the industrial economy that Alaska needed. Diminishing public and scholarly interest of Alaska-Japan relations, however, has resulted in the neglect of this recent period of Alaska's economic and diplomatic history. As such, this thesis asks: 1. How and why did Alaska's relationship with Japan develop and evolve over time? 2. In what ways did that relationship grow beyond its foundation in trade? 3. How did this relationship affect Alaska and what are its legacies? Using the Jack London Hypothesis of economic cycles, this thesis provides a history of Alaska-Japan relations and asserts that in periods of economic bust, when Alaska was forced to seek alternate streams of revenue, it actively pursued foreign trade with Japan, but that in times of economic boom Alaska neglected its relationship with Japan. During these periods of decreased attention to trade, however, the two partners sustained their relationship through the preexisting cultural, diplomatic, and business institutions that were built in the preceding boom period. Additionally, this research demonstrates that while Alaska's economic cycles drove its pursuit of international trade, Japan's receptiveness to these trade overtures also depended on its own waxing and waning economic conditions.
  • At the edge of somewhere: journeying on the Dalton Highway

    Wheeler, Charlotte A.; Farmer, Daryl; Holt, Joseph; Ehrlander, Mary (2022-05)
    Some journeys need to be made. In At the Edge of Somewhere, the writer embarks on a cycle ride from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's remote and dangerous Dalton Highway. Drawn obsessively to the Arctic sea ice some years earlier and, now, onto "the road," her journey attempts to bring closure to the long-standing need to be on the move, at once not able or even wanting to settle but also seeking a place within herself, and therefore a physical location, she might call home. She travels with a found notebook, acquired unexpectedly at the start of her ride, which reveals the heart-wrenching story of Samuel Morgan. As she journeys through boreal forest, high alpine and tundra, we learn not only of Samuel's abandonment to boarding school as a young boy but of the writer's traumatic childhood. Painful memories, reminiscences of working on "the road" and new encounters blend with Samuel's search for peace amid an encounter with the artistic works of an 18th century German Romantic painter. Touching on themes of trauma, art, and their relationships with the landscape, both the writer and Samuel reach Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean ready to let go of their pasts.
  • The doctor, the publisher and the curmudgeon: how personalities, politics and the press set the stage for Alaska statehood

    Snifka, Lynne M. (2009-12)
    "Much has been written about Alaska's struggle for statehood in 1959. But before there was a unified push for statehood, before World War II changed the face of Alaska forever and people such as Bob Atwood, Bill Egan and Bob Bartlett fought the good fight, there was a "perfect storm" of personalities, politics and press coverage that prepared Alaska for what would become its greatest triumph. This thesis examines the lives, motives and politics of Territorial Governor John Troy, Territorial Governor Ernest Gruening and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. Their individual vendettas, drive and quests for power directly influenced conditions in the Alaska Territory that would lead it to become a state. Along the way, the press corps, notably the Juneau Empire, held sway over the population and used partisanship and agenda setting to keep statehood boosters at bay for more than a decade"--Leaf iii
  • A storm like no other: changes that shaped Seward Peninsula communities at the turn of the 20th century

    Russell, Amy (2009-12)
    "This thesis explains how four events at the turn of the twentieth century--the start of an American administration, the introduction of schools and missions, the introduction of reindeer, and the 1918 influenza epidemic--brought sweeping changes to Inupiat on the Seward Peninsula, and contributed to the decline of two formerly-prominent Seward Peninsula communities: Kingegan and Kauwerak"--Leaf iii
  • The utilization of constitutional space to maximize sub-national autonomy in federations

    Oppe, Mark E. (2009-05)
    "The comparative study of federal systems has most often focused on the view of federation 'from the top down.' This is particularly true of the study of constitutionalism in federations, in which federal constitutions have received significantly more attention than sub-national constitutions. An emerging concept in the understanding of federal systems from the sub-national perspective is the idea of constitutional space, which is defined as 'the range of discretion available to the component units in a federal system in designing their constitutional arrangements.' Some scholars have suggested that the full utilization of constitutional space can effectively increase the autonomy of sub-national units within a federation. This thesis explores the potential for increased sub-national autonomy through the utilization of constitutional space in a comparative analysis of state and provincial actions in the United States and Canada with regard to same-sex marriage and resource management, and concludes that due to the influence of additional factors in the federal relationship, the utilization of constitutional space by itself is insufficient to increase sub-national autonomy"--Leaf iii
  • Jay Hammond: the conservationist governor

    Riedlsperger, Rudy (2009-08)
    "This thesis answers the question of how the ardent conservationist Jay Hammond, governor of Alaska between 1974 and 1982, could become successful in an environment of strong economic growth. Hammond was able to take advantage of favorable circumstances, such as the rise of the national environmental movement in the early 1970s, in order to introduce an unprecedented element of moderation to Alaska politics. Case studies substantiating Hammond's conservationist impact include the Rampart Dam Project, the state's buyback of the Kachemak Bay oil leases, and the creation of the Permanent Fund and its dividend. Jay Hammond's example proves that it is possible to allow economic development and protect environmental values at the same time. Especially in Alaska with its strong divide between development and conservation, future politicians can use Hammond's approach as a successful blueprint to bridge this gap"--Leaf iii
  • Renewable energy in rural Alaska: two case studies and their implications

    Logan, Jesse L. (2009-08)
    "This thesis argues that the costs of electricity in rural Alaska are ecological, economic, and social, and asks whether or not renewable energy can reduce these costs. Two case studies are examined: a wind-diesel hybrid system in Kotzebue, Alaska, and an Organic Rankine cycle geothermal system in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. In both cases it is found that when compared to the status quo (fossil fuel generated electricity), renewable energy technologies have reduced these costs. Historically, the funding for energy projects in Alaska has shifted from private enterprise investment to state and federal support. This is important in the debate regarding funding for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Power Equalization Program is also examined and found to be a paradoxical subsidy that provides economic relief but does not solve the problem of high electricity costs and may act as a disincentive to the deployment of renewables"--Leaf iii
  • Displaying conflict: the visitor's experience at the Kolmakovskii blockhouse

    Bias, Salena Kaye (2010-12)
    "A blockhouse sits outside of the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska. Built in 1841 by the Russian-American Company, the structure has been removed from its original location in the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, reconstructed, and presented to the public as a part of the museum's collection. However, little information is currently provided about the blockhouse or its history. While the current display lacks sufficient context, the Ethnology & History Department of the museum has received grant funds to improve the preservation and presentation of the Kolmakovskii Blockhouse. This thesis will provide a history of Russian advancement into the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, of Kolmakovskii Redoubt, and of the recent changes in museum theory and practice as they relate to the display of similar artifacts. While this structure is inherently valuable and worthy of preservation, its most noteworthy feature is its ability to evoke complex and conflicting responses to history as well as museum theory and practice. Suggestions will be made for improving the visitor's experience to the blockhouse, drawing on the structure's evocative nature"--Leaf iii.
  • Discovering Alaska's Interior: a historical geography of the 1885 Allen Expedition

    Vander Lugt, Russell W. (2010-05)
    "This thesis examines the geography and history of interior Alaska by tracing the route of Henry Allen's 1885 expedition and evaluating Alaska's physiography from both Clyde Wahrhaftig's and Allen's perspectives. Since the U.S. Army took a leading role in Alaska's era of exploration during the late nineteenth century, specific insights are drawn from Lieutenant Allen's expedition and its context within early Russian and American exploration to interpret the historical geography of Alaska. The purpose of this monograph., however, is more comprehensive than merely tracing Allen's expedition or Wahrhaftig's classification. This study's measure of success will be the extent to which the author's research illuminates the regional geography and history of America's 49th state, interprets Allen's geographic exploration within Wahrhaftig's physiographic framework, cultivates public interest with regard to the Allen expedition, and stimulates further research in fields related to Alaska's cultural landscape"--Leaf iii
  • Changes in traditional gender roles for Alaska Natives: their effects on sense of purpose, direction, identity, and family and community stature

    Wirts, Eleanor Kyle (2010-08)
    "In the past century, especially since the 1960s, Alaska Natives have faced rapid cultural and socio-economic change as Western influences have increasingly infiltrated the Native life-ways; since the 1960s social problems, including alcohol abuse, violence, and suicide have plagued Native individuals, families and communities. Arguably, a source of these social problems is the striking shift from clearly defined gender roles for Native adults that guided youth to adulthood in the past to opaque and ambiguous roles for adults that draw on both traditional and Western cultures. Historically, clearly defined gender roles provided youth with the role models necessary for maturing into healthy, productive adults and thereby offered youth a sense of purpose, direction and identity. Today's youth must look for cues in both traditional and Western culture to envision their futures, and with often conflicting value systems and too few strong adult role models to follow, many youth, especially males, are floundering. Healthy adult and elder role models are essential to the well-being of Native youth as they mature into adulthood. The revitalization of mentors, role models and close relationships between adults and youth are critical to future health and well-being of Alaska Native individuals, families and communities"--Leaf iii
  • Fishing for tourists: cultural tourism and its origins in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Foote, Amanda; Ehrlander, Mary; Easton, Norm; Todd, Susan; Johnson, Linda (2010-08)
    "Since before settling on the shores of Teslin Lake, the Inland Tlingit people have fished its waters. Today the people of Teslin also cast their nets along the Alaska Highway to lure tourists off the busy corridor. For small communities along the route, travelers represent both challenges and opportunities. Especially in First Nations communities decisions regarding tourism such as what products to develop, what services to provide, and how much access to allow carry much weight. This research constitutes a case study examining cultural tourism as a means of sustainable economic development for the community of Teslin, Yukon. It describes the broad landscape of tourism, given the history and culture of the Inland Tlingit people who comprise the majority of the community's population. Additionally it explores major events in Yukon history that have contributed to the current tourism landscape, as well as the impacts of land claims settlement, the Umbrella Final Agreement, and development of First Nations governments on tourism, culture, and heritage. This research reveals the gravity of sharing culture through tourism. The findings also suggest that within specific boundaries, Teslin residents perceive benefits from the presence of tourists in their community and often personally enjoy interacting with them"--Leaf iii

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