Research

My research includes work on environmental politics, Indigenous politics and ethnic mobilization, and other facets of international politics. I also have several published and in-progress articles and chapters on teaching and pedagogy. Below you can find a selection of my published work with abbreviated abstracts.

Uncertainty, Maskirovka, and Militarism: Russian Perspectives and Amphibious Assault Potentiality in the Arctic’s Near Future Amphibious Operations (forthcoming).

Research on the potential of amphibious assaults are often regulated to Pacific littorals and equatorial oceanscapes. Discussions on the consequences of climate change highlight the growing vulnerability of amphibious operations in the Pacific, however, this conversation disregards another region impacted by climate change and militarism yet not as likely to be involved in amphibious operations discussions – the Arctic. The Arctic and Oceania are bellwether regions for changing geophysical realities. Some estimates state the Arctic will be open for commercial shipping as early as 2050, while sizable literature anticipates the growing conflict potential in the region due to jurisdictional and resource issues. Canada, Russia, and the United States have all engaged in Northern militarization to different degrees. Russia continues to develop permanent infrastructure in the far north escalating the potential for future conflict. Russia’s tradition of expertise in deception (maskirovka), early leadership in amphibious operations theory in the 1930s, and recently launched Arctic amphibious assault training in 2017 suggest otherwise. Projecting power in the Arctic is a high stakes effort for states, and the threat of amphibious operations impacts state actions now.

Incompatible Futures: Frontier Nostalgia and Southern Discourses of the Arctic.  Arctic Yearbook (2019).

It is tempting for southern actors to imagine an Arctic that is separate from the challenges that define the rest of the world. From geopolitics to pollution, militarization to a loss of biodiversity, the complex events that span the globe highlight the desirability of identifying a region isolated from broader struggles. However, the very concept of an isolated or untouched region is a production, one of multiple human imaginaries of the region. Arctic images created by and for southerners fundamentally shaped early—and inaccurate— imaginaries of the North. Actors hold different nostalgia narratives which have been shaped by timelines emphasizing different key social, technological, and geophysical events; however, each discourse has origins in the settler-colonialism frontiersmanship of the 19th and 20th centuries. Ultimately, divergent temporalities and imaginaries mobilize actors to pursue different socio-economic policies in the North.

Decolonizing Gray Spaces: Storytelling and Arts as Political Activism among Sámi Herders Ecologia Politica (2019).

Indigenous nations have seen tremendous gains in their political agency and international attention. Political victories in international institutions are frequently addressed in academic literature, yet other forms of resistance are under-addressed as they exist in a political ‘gray space’. Yet resistive art is both intersectional and political. For Arctic indigenous communities, art as political ecology activism addresses the interwoven aspects of political domination, social marginalization, and ecological vulnerability. The Sámi in Scandinavia are among the most prolific in using art and storytelling as political venues, with protest art centering on reindeer herding issues. Herding has a complicated political and social history. For decades, Sámi who did not herd were not considered indigenous by the state. Today, Sámi are denied the right to own enough reindeer to support traditional livelihoods, resulting in socioeconomic ills and self-determination denial. Sámi art consequently illuminates historical vulnerability and subjugation in a contemporary context.

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Leadership and Neurological Brain Development Considering Leadership Anew (2019, with Akmal Abdulmuminov).

It is a tale as old as time: periods of crisis call for leadership. During national and social disasters, mainstream social-psychology approaches focus on personal characteristics and social arrangements in leadership. These approaches, however, fail to explain leader-follower behavior during times of severe environmental shocks and global shifts. The social-psychological approaches that describe these behaviors fail to explain long-term stressors. During prolonged global-level shifts and repeated shocks to the environment, people strongly favor communicative and network-capable leaders, supporting learning and information-seeking behaviors in ways that cannot be explained through social-psychological approaches alone The prime example of a stressor that repeatedly shocks and pressures humanity is our planet’s climate. These shocks and pressures not only present social challenges for humanity, they change the very neurobiological structure of our brains through climate-induced brain development affecting our predispositions toward leadership.

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The ‘Duel’ Level Domestic Legal Situation of Russia’s Peoples of the Far North Current Developments in Arctic Law 6, no. 1, 25-32.

It is difficult to fully grasp or appreciate the ethnic complexity of the Russian Federation. Despite national pressures over the better part of a century to assimilate indigenous communities, including the circumpolar indigenous peoples, indigenous communities have been able to maintain many cultural traditions. Today, indigenous
associations and leaders, much like their international counterparts, are attempting to renegotiate their relationships with the state. However, the complex structure of Russian law
necessitates that indigenous peoples need to further engage beyond lobbying and nation-state relationship building efforts. The purpose of this article is to articulate the legal situation for Russia’s indigenous peoples of the North, as a result of the regional/national divide in lawmaking and enforcement that creates a challenging gap for indigenous mobilization and rights gains.

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Within Our Borders: Sámi Mobilization, the Scandinavian Response, and World War II University of Wisconsin Press (forthcoming).

Beginning in the 1920s, the Sámi engaged in attempts to mobilize across Scandinavian borders, precursors to their contemporary internationalization movements. Yet, over time, Scandinavian states have varied in their resistance to Sámi internationalization. Variation in Scandinavian resistance to Sámi mobilization established itself as a trend in World War II. Over the course of the war, Scandinavian states experienced varying degrees of internal conflict: Sweden was neutral, Norway was occupied, and Finland contained a war front. The internal fighting within each state made it more difficult for the international community, comprised of states and international organizations, to collect reliable or comprehensive information on Scandinavian domestic policies. Internal conflict escalation coincided with a decline in international monitoring capabilities, as Axis powers restricted interstate communication and federal policymaking prioritized wartime strategy over minority maintenance. These developments obscured Sámi policy from the international community. Examining the cases by increasing internal conflict levels—Sweden, Norway, then Finland—illustrates a trend in Sámi policy. Severe internal conflict coincides with more coercive Sámi repression by the state (including evacuation and forced conscription), as the wartime governments could repress Sámi mobilization with fewer fears of being caught or shamed by the international community.

The Legacy of the Ting: Viking Justice and Effective Regional Governance. World History Connected (Forthcoming).

This article serves audiences consisting of instructors of advanced high school students and college courses. Modern imaginings of Viking society alternate between lawless pillagers and independent, innovative traders. Yet Viking society, whether in mainland Scandinavia or in distant colonies, was subject to a rigorous system of law, many features of which we recognize today. While tied together through common features, including open assembly and voting among freemen, geographical constraints and local variation resulted in strong regional governance. Exploration of the features that contributed to regional self-determination, including codification of regional power at national levels, the necessity of regional capability given geographical spread, and community reliance also explain the persistence of a local politics mindset. The scale and operation of ting assemblies has fostered a distinct legacy, resulting in need to understand effective components of longevity. The case study of Viking society encourages students to consider elements of cultural features in continuity; regional geographical and cultural features shape persisting organizational structures. This creates features recognizable across a broad scope of time, sometimes persisting into modernity.

The Handshake that Made History: The Norwegian-Minnesotan Troop Exchange. The Cross Section 2(1): 4-15. 2014.

Norway and Minnesota share a common cultural history and enjoy strong fraternal bonds, symbolized by the stationing of the American 99th Infantry Battalion in Norway after World War II to help secure a post-war peace.  After the successful deportation of German soldiers from Norway, U.S. troops withdrew and the relationship visibility between the American troops and the Norwegian military gradually declined over the next several decades. In 1974, the U.S.-Norway Troop Reciprocal Exchange Agreement (NOREX) was established with a handshake to revitalize diplomatic and increased cultural ties. This program ran successfully for 19 years before it became a formal agreement between the two countries. Since the successful inception of the U.S.-Norway Troop Reciprocal Exchange Agreement, the military relationship between Minnesota and Norway developed intersectional traits, including cultural, and fraternal ties. Based on the mutually beneficial outcome of the exchange, the NOREX program became the model of the United States’ State Partnership Program, which sought to further develop alliances with post-Soviet Union liberated countries.

Janteloven and Social Conformity in Thorbjørn Egner’s Literature. NCUR 5(1): 547-554. 2014.

Janteloven is a set of fictional laws detailed in Danish author Aksel Sandemose’s 1933 book, “A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks,” which satirizes the Scandinavian view towards individuality versus the collective. These laws, consisting of rules such as “thou shalt not believe thou art better than us,” direct a negative attitude towards those who stand out from the cultural norm of Norwegian identity.  Today, Janteloven is regarded as a sociological term describing the unified mindset ranging through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway that champions societies where inhabitants are encouraged to set the community’s needs over that of the individual’s. This mindset is most prevalent in acting as an agent of socialization though Norwegian children’s literature. A sample of eight children books by Norwegian author Thorbjørn Egner, published between 1940 and 1958, were analyzed, finding that Egner’s work strongly promotes community harmony over individual social achievement, contributing to the understanding that children’s literature enforces the Janteloven mindset. These findings help identify an area from which Norwegian cultural identity is shaped, and leads to the study of how this mindset creates attitudes that youth have toward their society, especially in an increasingly heterogeneous Norway.

The State Partnership Program: States as Global Actors and the Implications of Non-aggressive National Forces. MSU-Mankato Journal 14(1): 3-20. 2014.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States sought to increase its influence in Western Europe and Central Asia. The primary military mechanism used to increase presence and ideological influence was the State Partnership Program. This program, modeled heavily after the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange, used reserve forces instead of active duty forces to lessen the aggression levels perceived by Russian command. This use of reserve forces gave individual American states a greater degree of involvement in international military operations. By examining the motivations for involving reserve military forces through both realist and neoliberal lenses, this paper examines degree to which different causes influenced the creation of the State Partnership Program, and how these theories influence the continued operations of these military partnerships. There were significant realist intents in beginning these partnerships, but the program justification grew to include larger implications for partnering states with countries than just lessening perceived aggression. States have a higher capacity to specialize, can share cultural and ancestral identities, and can supports countries in their attempts to join international partnerships and IGOs.