Arctic Crossings at AAA Annual Meeting, San Francisco

In case any of you will be at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, please consider attending our panel:

“Arctic Crossings: Labour, Capital, and Locality in the Circumpolar North”

Saturday, November 17, 4-5:45pm, Continental 9 (Hilton San Francisco)

Trans-Beringian Crossings: Informal Meshworks and Evasive Space In North Pacific Borderlands – Tobias S Holzlehner (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)

Historical and Cultural Contexts of Urbanization In Northern Rim Countries – Marie E Lowe (University of Alaska Anchorage)

Producing Northern Borderlands: Place-Making and Belonging Between Mexico and Alaska – Sara V Komarnisky (University of British Columbia)

Pure Ice: Locality, Ethics and the Production of Canadian Diamonds - Lindsay A Bell (University of Toronto)

Discussant – Barbara A Bodenhorn (Cambridge)

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Making a film from field materials with zero experience and zero budget

Photo: Anna Stammler-Gossmann

Is it possible to turn your field data into a film with very moderate technical skills and no budget?

We do not expect our first effort at a documentary to be award winning.  But we started in October with a workshop with editing of Anna’s fieldwork video records in Windows Movie Maker. Now we will explore the editing in Macintosh Final cut’ (cuts, voiceover, animation, sound) and try to get ready Anna’s film for the project website (’Domesticated fish: farmed and monitored’, 5’)

The Anthropology Team invites you to join the next class by Christian Flores Almada (documentary film maker, Mexico/Finland).  Wednesday, November 14, 2012, BOREALIS room, 2—4 pm, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi.

Organized by Anna Stammler-Gossmann, ACCESS project, Anthropology Research Team

Posted in All, Announcements, Fieldwork, Russian North | 1 Comment

How do we see the sea: multiple meanings of seawater

Domesticated fish, photo: Anna Stammler_Gossmann

Series of lectures and documentary films, November 16 – 29, 2012 by Arctic Anthropology Team (ACCESS project Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society, Dr. Anna Stammler-Gossmann)

Dr. Anna Stammler-Gossmann (Arctic Centre, Finland). Lecture: ‘Domesticated’ fish: what is behind our salmon steak?
Presentation of the fieldwork documentary ‘Fresh Norwegian Salmon: Farmed and monitored’, 9 min. November 16, 2pm, Thule, Arctic Centre

Christian Flores Aldama (filmmaker, Mexico/Finland)
Documentary film ‘Notes about the sea: Composition on blue and red’. (Marine environment and pollution in Gulf of Mexico), 50 min, language: Spanish with English subtitles.
November 20, 12:00, Polarium theatre, Arktikum house

Dr. Dmitrii Klochkov (Director of Marine Informatics Company, Murmansk, Russia )
Lecture: Man and Sea: Life on board of Russian trawler. November 22, 12am, Borealis, Arctic Centre,

Prof. Enrique del Acebo Ibáñez (Universidad del Salvador and University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). Organized in cooperation with the ARKTIS doctoral program,
Introductory lecture: Life in extreme environment: Antarctic Ocean and risks on board.
Documentary film ‘The Ship’, 75 min, language: Spanish with English subtitles. November 30, Polarium, Arktikum, 16:30

organized by Anna Stammler-Gossmann

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Notes on hospitality, performance and potlatch: University of Yakutsk, Russia

What is a potlatch? Barbara Miller, author of Cultural Anthropology (2007), describes it as  “a feast in which the host lavishes the guests with abundant quantities of the best food and many gifts.”

The presidial podium of the conference in Yakutsk, with honorary guests sitting on white chairs like on a wedding ceremony

That’s what I felt reminded of at a recent conference on “science and education in the 21st century” [couldn’t have been broader, or?], in the Siberian regional capital of Yakutsk. I found most interesting to be part of the Russian hospitality and performance system.
The opening was in a sort of stadium hall with more than 2000 people present. Rector Mikhailova had summoned all her staff at the University to attend this. As one colleague told with a slight smile: dobrovol’no-prinuditel’noe uchastie, meaning voluntarily-induced participation. Impressive how disciplined all these people turned up. I feel almost envious, because this would hardly be possible here in Europe at this scale, and when we want many people at our events we don’t have that efficient instruments at hand to make them turn up. Continue reading

Posted in All, conferences, Guests, Russian North, Theoretical Issues

We are teaching again (September – December)

Arctic Studies Program ASPB1104 Peoples, Culture and Identities of the Arctic

Anna Stammler-Gossmann (September – October)

  1. The concept of indigeneity: From definitions to norms and to identity (object of international law; between transnational and local; who is indigenous?)
  2. North as space (geographical, economic, legal and mental space; homeland and frontier)
  3. Human-nature relations and environmental changes (culture-nature relations: ‘Western import’ and sentient landscape; scientific vs. local knowledge, concept of ‘reindeer/good fishing luck’; autonomy of nature and climate change, concept of vulnerability in context, state adaptive strategies and local agency, risk taking behavior and no-risk thesis)
  4. Anthropology of snow (social and economic significance of snow, Santa Claus tourism, ‘no snow’ emergencies, snow business)
  5. Anthropology of seawater (changing Arctic Ocean, borders and lines, multiple meanings of seawater, ‘taking and giving properties’, fish and fisheries; burden or asset – ‘newcomers’ to the ocean [King Crab and farmed fish]; dynamic seascape and coastal communities)

Nuccio Mazzullo  (October)

  1. Introduction to relevant anthropological approaches to issues of space, place and territoriality. Indigenous narratives of the land versus maps and borders to administrate the land.
  2.  Place names on maps and issues of identity. Mapping as way of reclaiming land and emphasizing indigenous presence and its relation with it (Inuit and Sámi examples).
  3. Resource conflicts and indigenous rights. Overview of some world wide example related to oil extraction, mining and forestry and then focus on the conflicts between Sámi reindeer herding and forestry in Upper Lapland
  4. Issues of locality and globality particularly in relation to indigenous identity.  Cultural and social change while keeping up with traditions.
  5. Tourism and cultural representations of otherness: issues of cultural and social authenticity.
Posted in Announcements, Indigenous Peoples, Sámi, teaching

Singing the Nganasan bear dance song in Hamburg.

On the first week of October the Institut für Finnougristik/Uralistik of HamburgUniversity (Germany) held the 4th International Conference on Samoyedology.

It was nice to see many familiar and well known Russian, Hungarian and German linguists who do their research on Siberian languages documentation, describing and linguistic analyzing, also on multilingualism and language policy regarding the Samoyedic languages; researches on contact linguistics, areality, typology and the Samoyedic music and culture. There were also so many young scientists, who gave a very positive impression about their research.

On the conference people mostly talked about the Samoyedic languages which are spoken on both sides of the Ural mountains, in northernmost Eurasia. I made a presentation about Oral history of Nenets, as one of the Uralic languages’ minority of Siberia, told by their life stories.

The term Samoyedic is used for Nenets, Nganasan, Enets and Selkups. These languages form the right branch of the Uralic languages family tree. The Samoyed territory extends from the White Sea to the Laptev Sea, along the Arctic shores of European Russia, including southern Novaya Zemlya, the Yamal peninsula, the mouths of the Ob River and the Yenisei and into the Taymyr peninsula in northernmost Siberia. Their economy is based mostly on reindeer herding.


Dancing and singing Nganasan bear song during the workshop. Photo Andrey Filchenko.

After a long day of the conference, Oksana Dobzhanskaya from Dudinka made a unique Nganasan bear dance workshop. She also asked people to make their personal songs in the language they study. In this warm and nice atmosphere, the conference was finished the next day, with further planning for the next one in two years time in Helsinki (Finland).

Posted in All, Announcements, Indigenous Peoples, oral history, Russian North | Tagged , , | 2 Comments