GHEA at 7th ICASS 2011

IASSA (International Arctic Social Sciences Association, ) was founded
in 1990 in Fairbanks, Alaska, at a meeting held in conjunction with the 7th Inuit Studies
Conference. The creation of IASSA follows the suggestion, made at the Conference on
Coordination of Research in the Arctic held in Leningrad in 1988, to establish an international
association to represent Arctic social scientists. The Arctic is defined as all Arctic and sub-
Arctic regions of the world. The social sciences encompass disciplines relating to behavioral,
psychological, cultural, anthropological, archaeological, linguistic, historical, social, legal,
economic, environmental, and political subjects, as well as health, education, the arts and
humanities, and related subjects.
From its foundation in 1990 until 1992, IASSA’s secretariat was housed at the Department of
Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. The following three years the secretariat
was situated at the Arctic Center, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland. Then from 1995
to 1998, it was housed at the Department of Eskimology, University of Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, Denmark. From 1998 to 2001, the secretariat was located at the GÉTIC (Groupe
d’études inuit et circumpolaires) of Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada. From 2001 to
2004, it was at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Anthropology. From 2004 to
2008 it was at Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland. It is presently
located at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland.
IASSA objectives are:
to promote and stimulate international cooperation and to increase the participation of
social scientists in national and international Arctic research
to promote communication and coordination with other research organizations
to promote the active collection, exchange, dissemination, and archiving of scientific
information in the Arctic social sciences
to promote mutual respect, communication, and collaboration between social scientists
and northern people
to facilitate culturally, developmentally, and linguistically appropriate education in the
To follow the IASSA statement of ethical principles for the conduct of research in the

IASSA hosts ICASS meetings every two to three years, with the next meeting scheduled for
Montreal 2012. Thanks to a special invitation from Dr. Jon Haukur Ingimundarsson and Dr.
Joan Nymand Larsen of the Stefansson Arctic Institute based at the University of Akureyri
( we were able to present a full
day session on GHEA and activities associated with both the new alliance and work done by
NABO and colleagues during the recent International Polar Year (IPY 2007-10, see ). This posting reports on the GHEA session at ICASS, which was
well attended and generated some excellent discussion and contacts. For author email contact
info see the GHEA website (

For full abstracts of papers and posters and pdf of powerpoints please see:
Report by Tom McGovern, CUNY Human Ecodynamics Research Center.

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