The Center for Circumpolar Studies seeks to build on past traditions and accomplishments while recognizing the increased role being played by polar regions in the rapidly-changing modern world. At a time of pervasive specialization and technological complexity, CCS offers a venue for interdisciplinary studies and humanistic approaches to understanding northern lands, biota, cultures, and peoples.

CCS is a member of the University of the Arctic, a cooperative network of universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the North.

Mission Statement

The Center for Circumpolar Studies is a private, non-profit institution for education and research in all aspects of the natural and cultural environment of the Circumpolar North.



CCS concentrates on university-level educational opportunities and expects to work cooperatively with the University of the Arctic and other educational institutions. It also is building programs in the K-12 range, both directly and through teacher education. Its public education program includes lectures, workshops, and films relevant to circumpolar concerns.


CCS will publish a Journal devoted to exploring approaches to northern issues that transcend disciplinary boundaries. We are especially interested in speculative essays that provide springboards for discussion of wide-ranging points of view.


In addition to maintaining a website/weblog, CCS sponsors professional meetings and symposia on circumpolar issues, often in collaboration with other institutions.

Community of Scholars

CCS serves as a venue for northern scholars (not limited to academics) to participate in its activities through committee work, meetings, and other interactions to promote the growth and contributions of the Center.

Support and Collegiality

CCS encourages individuals and other organizations with polar interests through cooperative efforts and administrative support for projects and new initiatives. The Center plans to provide temporary facilities for northern scholars and researchers working on relevant projects. We are especially interested in supporting early career scholars and innovative projects.

Living in the North

CCS provides an ongoing forum for discourse regarding the unique challenges of living in the North. We especially encourage participation in Center activities and programs by residents of northern regions.


Contact Us

226 Spring Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819



Board of Trustees


Laura Beebe is a scholar and traveler of the Circumpolar North and a former resident of Arctic Alaska. She is currently faculty in Environmental Humanities at Sterling College, where she teaches courses in cultural studies, ecology and mythology. Her graduate work in Circumpolar Geography included thesis research on the interplay between femininity and berry harvesting in the far north. Laura’s ethnobotanical interests have taken her to the far-flung Yupik communities of Bethel and Chevak, Alaska. Aside from her academic interests, Laura has worked as a naturalist guide in Denali National Park, as an education specialist for the National Park Service in Northwestern Alaska, and as a nesting bird research field technician for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Yukon River Delta. She has also guided for a variety of outdoor programs and led multi month backpacking courses in Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Joslyn Cassady is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Drew University. Her medical anthropological research focuses on environmental pollution, food security, and risk assessment in the Far North.  She is especially interested in how Arctic scholars and public health officials define biological injury and social risk from methylmercury exposure in fish and marine mammals. Drawing on years of fieldwork in Arctic Alaska, her work also involves the study of religious syncretism and social change in the Arctic. She has documented contemporary Iñupiaq experiences with human-animal transformation and is currently studying soul travel among villagers and urban Iñupiat in Alaska.


William W. Fitzhugh is a specialist in circumpolar anthropology and archeology who has spent more than forty years studying and publishing on arctic peoples and cultures in northern Canada, Alaska, Russia, Scandinavia, and Mongolia. His archaeological and environmental research has focused on the prehistory and paleoecology of northeastern North America, especially the problem of Eskimo and Indian cultural development across the forest-tundra boundary in Labrador, Baffin Island, and Quebec. Broader aspects of his research feature the evolution of northern maritime adaptations, circumpolar culture contacts, cross-cultural studies, and acculturation processes in the North. His research has been directed at archeological studies of the arctic voyages of Martin Frobisher AD 1576-78 and the prehistory of the Russian Arctic. He is currently investigating Asian influences on early Alaskan Eskimo culture and art through fieldwork at Bronze Age deer stone and burial sites in Mongolia, and contributions of early Basque voyages to the history of the New World.


Victoria Hust studied environmental sciences and trained in the interdisciplinary field of science, technology, society (STS) and has taught math and science at the middle and high school levels as well as social sciences at the university level. She is interested in the ways in which technologies and institutions help shape perceptions and interactions, both with the natural world and with one another; she is particularly interested in the influences of modern technologies and the participation in imported governmental structures in contemporary northern villages, especially Eskimo villages in the North American Arctic and in Greenland. Hust’s research interests also include issues revolving around worldview, cultural identity and self-determination. She has traveled in the Antarctic as well as the Arctic, and has spent many years living and working in villages in the arctic regions of Alaska.


Eleanor Kokar Ott, folklorist, environmentalist and teacher, (Ph. D., Univ. of Pennsylvania; M. A. Harvard) is primarily interested in the strategies of indigenous people living and practicing traditional lifeways and lore that enable them to feed and prosper their cultural imperatives in spite of the weight from the dominant culture to change. She is co-chair of the Board of Food Works at Two Rivers Center in Montpelier, VT, a demonstration organic farm with research and education programs in sustainable agriculture, environmental and cultural literacy. She was past director of Cross-Cultural Studies at Goddard College where she engaged in the Educational Exchange Program with the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne. She was co-director of the Shamanic Film/Video Archive, was associated with the Butser Hill Ancient Farm Project in Hampshire, England, and is consultant to Nomadicare in rekindling the knowledge and practice of traditional medicine in Mongolia.


Steven Young is a botanist and paleoecologist who has worked in the Arctic, Antarctic, and boreal regions since 1963. His major interest has been the changes in northern ecosystems since the height of the last Ice Age, and the processes involved. He is especially interested in how these factors have been related to human migrations and the development of modern human cultures in the North. His work has recently extended into the Russian Arctic and Central Asia, areas that seem to be keys to our understanding of the formation of modern Arctic ecosystems. Most recently, he has resumed work in northern and western Alaska in efforts to understand the physical (especially permafrost) and biotic factors influencing local plant distribution.

Former Board Members


Victor P. Ehly has made the study of religion a life-long pursuit and a passion for the discovery of ever new and exciting examples of the human expression of belief, ritual, and spiritually motivated action. He holds the Ph.D. in Humanities and Religion from Florida State University, two graduate and professional degrees from Yale University Divinity School and possesses a body of scholarship reflecting on the meaning of the Holocaust of European Jews for the so-called Christian West. As Professor Emeritus at Union Institute & University, he recently began a second career teaching Intercultural Communication at the Community College of Vermont. His interest in the Arctic regions was sparked by the reading of Berry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams and continues with the realization that the northern-most regions of the earth seem to be showing the most dramatic changes caused by global warming and therefore demands our attention in whatever capacity our training and talent have to offer.


Bruno Frohlich is trained in archaeology, biological anthropology, and forensic sciences. He has conducted fieldwork in the Middle East, Asia, Scandinavia, England, Greenland, Alaska, and Mongolia. His research interests include the fields of anthropology, mortuary practices, population demography, geographic information systems, forensic sciences, and how such research aids in reconstructing the histories of human populations over time. His Arctic and Sub-Arctic experience includes surveys and excavations of settlements and burial sites in the Aleutian Islands and Norse Greenland. During the past decade he has collaborated with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences on Mongolian research projects related to Bronze Age burial structures, medieval cave burials, and mass burials of executed Buddhist monks. Born and raised in Denmark, he resides in Vermont and works at the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology in Washington DC.


Luke Hardt is a forester and land surveyor living in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. He possesses degrees in Northern Studies and Natural Resource Management. Luke’s interests center on the ecology of northern environments and the mutually beneficial relationships between nature and humans. Since Luke’s childhood he has lived, worked and breathed an earth-based lifestyle, whether it be working on tree farms or cruising forgotten mountain hollows in search of rare herbs and brook trout streams. For the past decade, Luke has developed a multi-resource forestry business located in Northern Vermont where he sees firsthand the relationships between humans and the natural world and strives to sustain this relationship through careful management and planning. Some of Luke’s recent projects include reforestation planning, uneven-aged timber harvest management, wilderness acreage boundary surveying, wildlife management, and non-timber forest resource management.


With a doctorate in comparative literature, Kathleen Osgood’s primary research focus is the literary ecology of northern native peoples. She studied at the Giellegas Institute at the University of Oulu, Finland, and is collaborating on a series of online courses with Sakha State University in Yakutsk, Siberia. She is active with the University of the Arctic, a consortium of institutions involved with the circumpolar world. A long-term Vermonter, Kathleen Osgood lives in the same house where she grew up. While the stonewalls and sugarbush of her farmlands look much as they did in the 19th century, the 21st century reality has shifted from hardscrabble farming to locavore economies, from mutual aid to development covenants, from rural isolation to global connection.