Urban Anthropology job, research in Nuuk

This comes pretty late, but who knows, maybe they extend the deadline? Colleagues want us to spread the news of PhD jobs funded at Tromso and Oslo and with a focus on the Greenlandic capital of Nuuk.

The project “Urban transformation in a warming Arctic” (UrbTrans) is currently seeking two PhD fellows. If you would be so kind as to circulate the call to relevant candidates I would greatly appreciate it.

The PhD fellows will be employed at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the University of Oslo, and will be working in an interdisciplinary research group. The PhDs can come from a range of fields in the social sciences and humanities, including but not limited to science and technology studies (STS), indigenous studies, history, social anthropology, human geography, and sociology.

PhD position in Tromsø: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/186964/phd-fellow-affiliated-with-the-project-urban-transformation-in-a-warming-arctic Application deadline: 30 September 2020.

PhD position in Oslo: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/192867/phd-research-fellow-in-science-and-technology-studies Application deadline: 25 October 2020.

UrbTrans is a radically interdisciplinary project that will examine the development of Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, in the period from 1950 and until today. The aim of the project is to describe how Nuuk’s citizens and authorities meet the changes caused by global warming, as well as to identify how Nuuk’s colonial past is activated in and affects ongoing transformation processes.

contact:

Tone Huse
tone.huse(at)uit.no

Professorship in California

Our colleagues would like us to widely announce these two job adverts in indigenous studies

The Global Studies Department at the University of California, Irvine will be hiring two assistant professors in July 2021. One position is in Global Racial Studies, and the other in Global Indigenous Studies.
“We are interested in outstanding interdisciplinary scholars trained from across the social sciences and humanities. The candidate’s research should engage important global issues in innovative ways. The candidate will be participating in a diverse intellectual environment and developing curriculum around global theory, non-western epistemologies, and pressing regional and transnational issues manifesting in the lives and experiences of people.

The deadline for both positions is 1 November, 2020 and further information can be found at our department website:
https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.globalstudies.uci.edu%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cpetri.koikkalainen%40ulapland.fi%7C4d139350dffd4b06aa0b08d85bace666%7C4c60a66f0a8d446e9ac0836a00d84542%7C0%7C0%7C637360146342187538&sdata=qykFgzcfI7RTR5s%2FillMViWDb90mijjO%2F9cYPtQWtD8%3D&reserved=0

Some thoughts about Nenets Syadeis from the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum

Last week on the Internet was published a short video about two very old Nenets Syadei with the following text:

  • Cambridge University Museums have been running a project called ‘Museum Remix – Unheard’ during lockdown. It’s an invitation to re-interpret the stories museums tell. Each month they have released a challenge – this month’s is ‘Video’. Curators present a selection of objects from Cambridge collections using short videos; viewers are invited to respond by making a 3-minute video in any format by September 30. The information is here: https://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/museumremix Absolutely anyone over the age of 16 is very welcome to participate.The selection of objects includes two Syadei (sacred wooden figures) made by members of the Siberian Nenets community, held at the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum. Here’s the video about them, which I made over the summer: https://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/magic/syadei-sacred-objects You’ll find a Russian version there too.The SPRI museum team would love to get some feedback from Russia, and especially from the Nenets community; this feedback doesn’t necessarily have to fall within the Museum Remix project. We are also hoping simply to let members of the Nenets community know that we hold these objects. I would be very grateful if you could circulate these links to people who might be interested – and/or let me know if there’s anyone in particular I should contact. Thanks!
Syadei from the collection of the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum

After this publication, I asked my daughter´s opinion about these Nenets Syadeis and their story which is now published on the Internet. It was interesting to know this young Nenets opinion about using Nenets religious items for the public performance. What surprised me was that my daughter reacted quite emotionally to this video and said that she does not agree that this Syadei on the video is undressed. She said that according to Nenets customs and ethics it is not allowed to show a naked body to anybody, therefore even Nenets wooden idols, like Syadei and other domestic family religious items, should have own clothes. Also, the Nenets researcher Galina Kharuchi said, that it is quite common to give to Nenets idols sometimes presents. It can be new clothes or coins from white metal, even if they are in a museum. So, maybe it is a good advice for museum curators how they can thank these idols for their work. However, I do not think that these Syadeis are an example of the exploitation of the indigenous religious heritage since they are now museum objects.

Job opportunity in Manchester

Shared by Francis Joy: an employment position in Manchester. A job opportunity for Russian speaking social anthropologists interested in animism and environment – research associate for a 6 year project called “Cosmological Visionaries: Shamans, Scientists and Climate Change at the Ethnic Borderlands of China and Russia”. A Manchester-based ‘Russia team’ will conduct qualitative interview-based research each year on deforestation, climate change and animist cosmologies in Northern Siberia and Russian Far East

 

https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jobs.ac.uk%2Fjob%2FCAR571%2Fresearch-associate-in-anthropology-cosmological-visionairies%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0UvDMXfdQGvWtI6BuM8X_3ZjQHMGraaDmNxgtvTfjbZLZZA2koyHV26-Y&data=02%7C01%7Canna.stammler-gossmann%40ulapland.fi%7C5fcf9bd0700b4ffa128908d8346ff51c%7C4c60a66f0a8d446e9ac0836a00d84542%7C0%7C0%7C637317002747537687&sdata=cPIkdUFDFOqqbeE1idcOEFkUSjtO6a%2BTugvzgRLIdhA%3D&reserved=0

Covid-19 arrived in the Yamal tundra

It was probably a matter of time, but I thought until today ‘how great that the tundra is still free of infections’. The reindeer herders strategy of avoiding dangerous places had worked pretty well since March. Using flexibly nomadic movements to avoid dangerous places has been a strategy among the Nenets for centuries, which has worked well to mitigate impacts of all kinds of diseases and disasters of any sort. But now apparently some student brought the virus in, from a dormitory. The person travelled on a helicopter that was bringing Nenets students back to their home nomadic camps for the summer holiday. This means that the other almost 20 passengers of that helicopter have also been in contact.

Continue reading “Covid-19 arrived in the Yamal tundra”

Arctic view on Russia’s changed constitution

The population of Russia officially supported the suggested changes in the world’s largest country’s constitution, with almost 78% of those who voted. Half of the circumpolar Arctic, including most of its indigenous peoples, will be governed by a different constitution from now on. Looking at the results of the vote, it is, however, noticeable how certain regions in the Arctic deferred from the general voting pattern.

Mayor Avsentyeva of Yakutsk during voting – the photo with the cross in the “yes” box was faked later – her office announced that she voted against! photo Алексей Толстяков/facebook.com
Continue reading “Arctic view on Russia’s changed constitution”

Tromso job offer: Associate Professor Anthropology

Many of our team have cooperated with anthropologists from Tromso in one way or the other. Now the department there advertises a job at the level of associate professor, with a job description that might appeal many of us:

“fieldwork-based methods; human-nature relations; environmental transformations and climate change; and the social reverberations of global inequality.” And

“Experience with the following would be an advantage (in no particular order of priority): audio-visual methods; human rights perspectives; and marginalized ethnic groups and Indigenous peoples.”

I have been in touch with Natalia Magnani and Jennifer Hayes there, and both are definitely nice and interesting colleagues to work with. Prospective applicants, give it a try!

Ysyakh 2020 – solstice festival online

Midsummer, solstice on the 21 June is for many northern peoples and cultures an important holiday. In Finland it’s called Juhannus and a state holiday. In Yakutia, where I am now, it’s called Ysyakh, and considered the Sakha people’s new year day. The 2020 celebrations obviously come in a very different format in comparison to any previous festivities, for a number of reasons including but not limited to the corona virus.

The president of Yakutia ‘Il Darkhan’ Aysen Nikolaev congratulating for the Ysyakh 2020 on regional TV. Note his Sakha festive clothes, the Sakha horse on his left, the sacred horse pole Serge behind him, and the few participants in the ritual with covid-19 masks
Continue reading “Ysyakh 2020 – solstice festival online”

Permafrost thaw responsible for Norilsk oil spill, impacting indigenous fishing?

Talking to a friend in Se Yakha, at the shore of the Ob Bay close to the Kara Sea, I realised how far the consequences of the recent Norilsk oil spill could go: the recent New York Times article about the oil spill cite environmentalists and even a Russian minister saying that the consequences of the spill could last for a decade. This is echoed by our friends from the Yamal Peninsula, who might be again among the most vulnerable victims.
The concern is that the spilled oil will eventually end up in the Kara Sea. And if that happens, it will contaminate the water along of the migration route of fish, on which the indigenous population along the shores rely for their subsistence and livelihood.

Continue reading “Permafrost thaw responsible for Norilsk oil spill, impacting indigenous fishing?”

COVID-19 impacts in the Arctic: anthropological research gaps / ideas?

Dear all,
I’m contributing to an expert document on the impacts of COVID-19 in the Arctic. I think it is essential that we highlight research gaps that we notice as anthropologists working in the Arctic. I would like to invite everybody to use the comment function here in this blog to highlight what anthropologists in the Arctic should study relating to the impacts of COVID-19 in the Arctic. It could be that with this we might be able to influence political decisions on this in the future. But actually the question is of interest well beyond that: If you have noticed any important gaps that we should really know but we don’t know yet, please go ahead and write them here as a comment, or, if you feel uncomfortable to go public with your observation / idea, in an email to Florian Stammler at the University of Lapland in Finland. If you want, you can also share some of your impressions how life has changed in COVID-19 times in the part of the Arctic region that you know best. No idea how much is going to come in. But if it is a lot, those of you who are contributing could also think about co-authoring an article in a journal about this. This would be something sort of a “crowd-authored” article, almost like our natural science colleagues, whose articles sometimes get over 30 authors:) Looking forward to your input. Florian