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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2004

E 322 • Midnight Sun People: The Sami

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32790 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
GEO 2.202

Course Description

What can a small minority group teach us about peaceful coexistence, sensible use of the environment and a meaningful rapport with the spiritual world? In this interdisciplinary course we will learn about the Sami, an indigenous people living today mainly in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Not too long ago commonly referred to as Lapps or Laplanders and often the victims of discrimination by the majority cultures in the area they inhabit, the Sami have, in recent years, received a greater degree of autonomy and their culture is being studied both by non-Sami scholars and by the Sami themselves. Sami writers, musicians and graphic artists are being recognized worldwide.

We will first place the Sami in a historical-cultural context by examining factual materials, both historical and contemporary, on the Sami’s social and economic systems, religion, customs and values. Many of the readings will have an outsider’s point of view, but there will be materials written by Sami scholars as well. In the major portion of the course we will view the Sami primarily from within; the Sami will present themselves through their literature, film, music and art.

Grading Policy

Journal including final essay must be a minimum of 12 pages 48%
Film review of Pathfinder, a film retelling an old Sami legend, at least 4 pages 12%
Exams 30%
Class Participation 10%


Mulk/Kuoljok/Utsi, The Sami--People of the Sun and the Winds
Valkeapää, Nils-Aslak, Trekways of the Wind
Gaski, Harald, In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun--Contemporary Sami Prose and Poetry
Gaski, Harald, Sami Culture in a New Era
Peoples, James & Garrick Bailey, Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Gaup, Ailo, In Search of the Drum
Basso, Keith B., Portraits of “the Whiteman”
Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks
Jenssen, Frank A., The Salt Bin


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