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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Summer 2003

R S f361 • Midnight Sun People: Sami-W (Area IV)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
87670 MTWThF
10:00 AM-11:30 AM
GAR 215

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary. 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 of 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: Active reflections on materials read, ideas discussed in class and questions raised by reading, class discussions and other course-related activities. Not a loose collection of facts, but should include concepts, dates, figures, and facts in an analytical and/or reflective context. Final entry should be an essay answering the following questions: a) what can a minority group, comprised of not much more than 60,000 people, teach the world about peaceful coexistence, sensible use of the environment, and a meaningful rapport with the spiritual world? AND b) A brief summary of major manifestations of present-day Sami culture. 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 Saami-People of the Sun and the Wind.
  • Valkeapaa, Nils-Aslak. Trekways of the Wind.
  • Gaski, Harald. In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun-Contemporary Sami Prose and Poetry.
  • Peoples, James and Garrick Bailey. Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology.
  • Guap, Ailo. In Search of the Drum.
  • Basso, Keith B. Portraits of “the Whitemen.”
  • Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks.
  • Jenssen, Frank A. The Salt Bin.


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