Aaron John Spitzer's picture

Aaron John Spitzer

Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Arctic Governance
  • E-mailAaron.Spitzer@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 27 99
  • Visitor Address
    Christies gate 15
    5007 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7802
    5020 Bergen

Aaron John Spitzer is an associate professor of Arctic governance at the Department of Comparative Politics and is the co-leader of the international research project Indigenous Peoples and Governance in the Arctic. His research focuses on Indigenous governance, Arctic governance, liberal-democratic peripheries, and post-Westphalianism. He has spent extensive time conducting research in Alaska; Canada's Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut; and Australia's Northern Territory. His latest work investigates clashes concerning the accommodation of Sami interests; the contested constitutional structure of settler-colonial federal “territories” and other peripheral regions; and the normative navigation of contests juxtaposing the liberal-democratic rights of individuals versus the self-determination rights of peoples.   

Course development and teaching 

Aaron has been responsible for developing and teaching courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on Arctic governance, Indigenous governance, and state-and-nation building:

SAMPOL105: State- and Nation-Building (co-instructor, 2022-2023) is an undergraduate course at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, introducing first-year students to the history of, and theories concerning, the rise of the Westphalian state system, and exploring challenges that system is now experiencing. 

SAMPOL203: Comparative Arctic Indigenous Governance (curriculum developer and instructor, 2018-2023) is undergraduate course at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, exploring the rapidly evolving field of Indigenous governance in the Nordic states and Canada.

SAMPOL 371: Arctic Politics (curriculum developer and instructor, 2022-2023) is an M.A.-level course at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, studying contemporary challenges in the North including climate change, resource extraction, militarization, and Indigenous (de)colonization.

SAMPOL323: Arctic Governance and the Role of Indigenous People ((co-instructor, 2018, 2020-2021) is an M.A.-level course at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, exploring how the Arctic Indigenous peoples take part in and influence processes of political change.

STV-2048Comparative Arctic Indigenous Governance (curriculum developer and co-instructor, 2018-2019) is an undergraduate course at the University of Tromsø – the Arctic University of Norway, exploring the rapidly evolving field of indigenous governance in the Nordic states and Canada.




  • Show author(s) (2023). Review of Nested Federalism and Inuit Governance in the Canadian Arctic (by Gary N. Wilson, Christopher Alcantara, and Thierry Rodon). Northern Review.
  • Show author(s) (2022). The settler-rights backlash: understanding liberal challenges to Indigenous self-determination. Territory, Politics, Governance.
  • Show author(s) (2021). Examining FeFo from a Canadian "claimed-based" co-mangagement perspective.
  • Show author(s) (2021). Approaching the boundary problem: Self-determination, inclusion, and the unpuzzling of transboundary conflicts. Journal of International Political Theory.
  • Show author(s) (2020). The metapolitics of settler-colonialism.
  • Show author(s) (2020). Is Nonterritorial Autonomy Wrong for Indigenous Rights? Examining the ‘Territorialisation’ of Sami Power in Norway. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 544-567.
  • Show author(s) (2019). `A wolf in sheep’s clothing’: settler voting rights and the elimination of the Indigenous demos in US Pacific territories. Postcolonial Studies. 1-19.
  • Show author(s) (2019). Truth commissions on violations against indigenous peoples: the sami truth commission in comparative perspective.
  • Show author(s) (2019). The Sami Truth Commission in a comparative perspective.
  • Show author(s) (2019). Erratum: Claims-based co-management in Norway's arctic? Examining sami land governance as a case of treaty federalism (Canadian Journal of Political Science (2019) (1-9) DOI: 10.1017/S0008423919000301). Canadian journal of political science. 937.
  • Show author(s) (2019). Constituting settler colonialism: the ‘boundary problem’, liberal equality, and settler state-making in Australia’s Northern Territory. Postcolonial Studies.
  • Show author(s) (2019). Colonizing the demos? Settler rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and the contested ‘structure of governance’ in Canada’s North. Settler Colonial Studies. 1-17.
  • Show author(s) (2019). Claims-Based Co-management in Norway's Arctic? Examining Sami Land Governance as a Case of Treaty Federalism. Canadian journal of political science. 1-19.
  • Show author(s) (2018). Reconciling shared rule: Liberal theory, electoral- districting law and “National Group” representation in Canada. Canadian journal of political science. 447-466.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

4 May 2023, BERGEN: The Arctic is a 'living laboratory'. "It is sometimes said that we are entering a period of 'late Westphalianism' – a period where globalism, and the rights revolution, and climate emergencies, are breaking down that neat grid-like structure of states, blurring the line between inside and out, us and them."

7 October 2022, BERGEN: Welcome to Aaron as department’s associate professor of Arctic geopolitics. Aaron John Spitzer, until recently a førstelektor (associate teaching professor) at UiB’s Department of Comparative Politics, has been promoted to the rank of associate professor. His position is connected to the Nansen-Initiative with a focus on governance and geopolitics of the Arctic.

16 May 2022, NUUK: Will Greenland gain sovereignty? Sampol scholars explore Denmark’s Inuit territory as it grapples with the prospect of statehood.

14 June 2021, BERGEN: Arctic research comes in from the cold: The High North, long considered peripheral to the study of politics, is now a geopolitical hot spot, due to climate change, Arctic sovereignty, demand for remote resources, new transportation routes, militarization, and Indigenous “decolonization.” Academia is taking note and turning north – and the Department of Comparative Politics (SAMPOL) is in the lead.

19 September 2016, BERGEN: Indigenous People and Governance in the Arctic: Elin Monstad and Aaron Spitzer are newly appointed PhD candidates at the Department of Comparative Politics.