TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's one of the coldest and most remote areas on Earth, but the Arctic region has long held great strategic interest for a number of nations. Now, a Florida State University researcher is leading an international team that is working to produce one of the most comprehensive histories to date of the northernmost part of the world from the late 19th century to the present.
Ronald E. Doel, an associate professor of history at FSU, is the project leader of "Colony, Empire, Environment: A Comparative International History of Twentieth Century Arctic Science," a $1.1 million project funded by the European Science Foundation. Nine historians from seven nations -- the United States, Canada, England, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Russia -- are working on this innovative research effort.
"What we're doing is looking at the Arctic from a comparative international perspective," said Doel, who also has received individual funding from the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs. "There have been a lot of histories written from one national slice or another -- a Canadian history of the Arctic, a U.S. focus, a Russian focus. We have nine members in seven countries, all looking at the Arctic, all talking with one another, beginning to develop a different kind of story that joins the voices together to fill in holes in individual narratives."
Doel said that he and his colleagues are focusing on how perceptions of the Arctic have changed from the period of colonization to the time of the Cold War, when the region's military value became one of the main concerns -- particularly for the Soviet Union and the United States. The historians' research will take them all the way up to the modern era, a time of increasing autonomy for some of the Arctic's indigenous people. (For example, Canada established Nunavut, now the largest of its territories and provinces, in 1999. The new territory's population is composed mos
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Florida State University