The Arctic Yearbook is an international and peer-reviewed volume which focuses on issues of regional governance, development, environmental politics, circumpolar relations, geopolitics and security, all broadly defined. It is an open access, online publication. The Arctic Yearbook is an initiative of the Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security

This year’s theme is “Defining and Mapping the Arctic: Sovereignties, Policies and Perceptions”. Perhaps because it is distant from major political, business and media centres, the Arctic seems especially prone to external interpretations of its essential character. How the Arctic is defined and perceived, or redefined, as well as how non-Arctic actors define or self-identify with the Arctic region, has real implications for how it is governed. Yet dominant narratives about the region are often based on superficial, ideological or arbitrary understandings. There is a need for better-informed discussions about the essential nature of the Arctic, and its people, its economy, its geography and its environment, as well as the examination of the dominant perceptions. This edition of the Arctic Yearbook aims to provide space for this endeavour.

This theme seeks to explore, analyze, critique, and further inform different definitions/perceptions of the Arctic. Of particular interest are discussions on the following topics:

  • Environmental and physical definitions of the Arctic, such as temperature, permafrost, tree line, sea ice extent and scale & tempo of changes, and the scientific and policy implications of climate changes to these interpretations;
  • Understandings of Arctic sovereignty, including what it means in practice, who exercises it and how, and whether traditional, state-centred conceptions of sovereignty can or should change.
  • Definitions and delineations of the Arctic from an international legal perspective, including the nature of shipping passages, regulatory boundaries extended continental shelf and state and national borders.
  • Articulation of the concepts of ‘local’, ‘traditional’ and Indigenous, where there is overlap and differences between them, and the implications of competing interpretations of ‘Indigeneity’.
  • Evaluation of the geographical, environmental & climate, social, economic, political and geopolitical differences between North America, the Nordic states and Russia; between the Arctic and non-Arctic/Arctic Council Observer/near-Arctic; and between the Arctic Five (A5) and the Arctic Eight (A8).
  • Understanding and applications of the concepts of ‘Nordicity’, ‘Northernness’, and ‘Arcticness’, including determining to what extent there is a common geographic reality involving extreme cold, harsh conditions, vulnerability, high scale of contrasts, sparsity, and remoteness that characterizes the Arctic experience and makes regional collaboration logical or beneficial.

Other topics of contemporary significance to northern peoples, circumpolar relations, Arctic development, governance, geopolitics or security will also be welcome.

Abstracts should be 250-400 words and include author name(s), institutional affiliation and article title, to be submitted to deadline for abstracts is March 1, 2021. Notice of acceptance will be provided on March 16, 2021. Articles must be submitted by June 15, 2021. Publication is planned for October 2021.

We also welcome proposals for commentaries (1-3 page opinion pieces) and briefing notes (4-7 page analyses) from experts and policymakers on current issues and events.


Lassi Heininen


Heather Exner-Pirot


Justin Barnes

Lawson Brigham, Chair (Resident Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Research Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States)
Gail Fondahl (Professor of Geography, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada)
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (former President of Iceland; Chairman of Arctic Circle Assembly)
Hannu Halinen (former Arctic Ambassador, Finland)
Steven E. Miller (Director of the International Security Program; Editor-in-Chief of International Security, Harvard University, United States)
Alexander Pelyasov (Russian Academy of Sciences; Director of the Center of Northern and Arctic Economics; Ministry of Economic Development & Trade, Russia)