TA to Iceland

Overseas Opportunity and Teaching Assistant Position Available for UW Graduate Student

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this outstanding graduate opportunity is being readvertized.

When: Fall quarter 2013

Professor: Dr. Margaret Willson

Where: TA will work with course professor in Seattle and will travel for two months with students to Iceland.

Stipend/Salary: $4500-$5500. This position will also include paid full time tuition, airfare, and per diem while abroad.

Who: The ideal person will have an interest and background in one or more of the following areas: environmental issues; anthropology or other social science; the Arctic; indigenous communities; constructions of identities; coastal fishing communities. The person should also be flexible, have competent writing skills, able to work with a diverse student group, and feel comfortable relating closely with students during class and also during extracurricularactivities.

Expectations: The TA will be expected to assist the professor in course material preparation, with seminars, work with students on their individual projects, and function as a guide and model for students during their extracurricular activates. The TA is also encouraged to consider doing a research project of his or her own during the term.

Course Title: Exchanging Ideas, Exploring Identities:Resilience, Natural Resources, and Narratives of Power in Iceland

Course Description:

Iceland—considered until a few years ago one of the world’s richest and more stable countries—crashed in a few short weeks in October 2008 to the brink of bankruptcy. Known as the first democracy of Europe and heralded land of the brillient Viking Sagas, Iceland retained its independence for almost 400 years (874-1262) only to become–after a brief period in confederacy with Norway–an impoverished colony of Denmark for seven centuries, not regaining full independence until 1944. The country’s reclaimed freedom, combined with generous Marshall support after 1945, led to an economic and social revolution that transformed the lives of Icelanders from bone-numbing subsistence poverty to the accoutrements of a modern, middle-class, European-style nation. Now, less than 70 years later,Icelanders see themselves as clawing their way from the brink of losing their livelihoods, their homes and their hard-won independence. At the eye of this vortex of swirling economic and political turbulence lies a fishing industry of remarkable wealth, and very specific notions of risk, gender, literacy, identiy, survival and history. This course will explore the realities and implications of Iceland’s place in the world and how its history, politics and economy have affected Icelanders’ perceptions of themselves, their ethnicity and their land. This course will allow students to talk with working Icelanders about these issues, people who are contending with them as part of their everyday lived experience

In this course, students will explore these questions not just as outsiders, but with Icelanders. Together they will delve into the complexity of how a small modern society copes in this environment of the Polar North. The course will relate the Iceland experience to larger questions such as: what defines an “ingenious people,” what are the meanings and complexities of “sustainability” and “resilience,” and what are the relationships of history, colonialism, identity, ethnicity, and notions of hetero and homogeneity? Students will explore these and other questions with local Icelandic university students at the University of Akureyri, staying in the intense and often awe-inspiring beauty of North Iceland just south of the Arctic Circle during the weather of a northern autumn and early winter.This is a course for the adventurer ready to explore new realms of mind, spirit and place.

For the first month of the course, students will stay in several small fishing villages, including a week in one coastal community working with local students on how a regional park could be made attractive for young people both in Iceland and for overseas visitors. Students will then spend a month in the North Iceland town of Akureyri where each UW student will be paired with a local Icelandic university student to engage in a joint project, which will be presented at the end of their stay. An exciting array of classes in English for audit will also be available to students including such classes as Polar Law, Inuit Society and Culture, Icelandic Sagas and History to name but a few. During the final week of the program, students will travel from the north of Iceland to the major city of Reykjavik, exploring the vibrancy of art, history and politics of that town..

Interested Applicants: please send a statement of interest, CV, and description of yourself to Ann Loveridge, annvu. Because of the tightness of schedule, applications will be considered as they are submitted, so if you are interested, send in your application now!

Marion Cook, Program Assistant


Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

University of Washington, Seattle


Center Website – http://jsis.washington.edu/canada/

Physical Location

Thomson Hall, Room 503

Mailing Address

Box 353650

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington 98195