Iceland

Students in Iceland get a first-hand look at
the volcanic landscapes of this North Atlantic island.
In order to witness the effects of climate change,
students traverse the glacier, Svínafellsjökull, using ice axes and crampons.
Professor Fielding hikes toward the top of
Brennisteinsalda mountain, "the Sulphur Wave."
Students hike through an alpine meadow below the
rhyolite hills of Landmannalaugar. The geology of these volcanic landscapes provides
real-life examples of lessons learned in class.
Students appear to walk on water during an excursion to Ingólfshöfði,
the small island where Iceland’s first Viking settler landed in 874CE.

"But Iceland is not a myth, it is actual and real, a solid portion of the earth's surface."
—Pliny Miles, Norðurfari, or, Rambles in Iceland
(London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1854), 15.

This class, Sustainability and Global Environmental Change, gives students a chance to explore Iceland, a place so unique that it has at times seemed mythical. We focus on two complementary facets of the relationship between human societies and the natural environment: natural resources and natural hazards. Both are central to life in Iceland. Natural resources provide food, shelter, energy, and livelihoods to the Icelandic people while natural hazards threaten their homes, economies, and sometimes even their lives.

The class is divided into two parts: a semester-long seminar that meets once per week to discuss readings relevant to the subject and objectives of the course (ENST 211), and a two-week field excursion that travels through the interior highlands and southern coast of Iceland (ENST 212). While traveling, we stay in small guesthouses and sprawling campgrounds. We visit museums, historical sites, and places of cultural importance. We soak in natural hot springs and hike across landscapes carved by glaciers or deposited during lava flows.

Click here to apply to participate in the 2017 Sewanee in Iceland program.
(Applications now closed. The 2018 class will accept applications during the Advent 2017 semester. Check this site for the link.)

2018 Class Blog (updated July-August 2017)

View photos from previous classes:
2016 Class Blog
2015 Class Blog
2015 Photo Essay

Contact Professor Fielding with any questions about the Iceland class.
Office: Snowden 211B
Phone: 931-598-1815
Email: russell.fielding@sewanee.edu