ICASS VII congress Akureyri, Iceland

Arctic Social Sciences are getting more and more diverse, and we were very pleased to see so many disciplines presented at the recent International Congress of Arctic Social Scientists in Akureyri, Iceland, from 22-26 June 2011. This was the biggest congress of this kind ever, with 450 participants, and although northern anthropology was a very prominent discipline as is the tradition at ICASS, less ‘usual’ disciplines such as Arctic law, arts, film making, literature made this one truly interdisciplinary. This is a very powerful reminder for us that interdisciplinary work is not only us anthropologists teaming up with natural scientists on climate change projects (as important as this is…), but finding common ground with other social scientists as well!

A new dawn for Arctic Social Sciences? Discussed at ICASS in Akureyri

It was very nice to see so many delegates from Finland as well at the congress even though the date was just after Finnish national midsummer holiday juhannus. The ICASS council, to which anthropology resaerch team coordinator Florian Stammler was re-elected thanks everybody for making this congress into such a powerful statement on the importance of social sciences in current and future Arctic development.

The ICASS congress is held usually every three years, and the congress is always also used for electing a new president (congratulations to Gail Fondahl for this!), who also hosts the next congress (in Prince George, University of Northern British Columbia). Here comes a warm invitation to all readers to stay within or become member of IASSA, the international Arctic Social Sciences Association, and read “Northern Notes”, their newsletter to stay updated about everything in the Arctic Social Sciences community.

Anthropology team members were involved in many different sessions, about some of which you may read in separate entries to this blog. In particular, these were sessions about

“Identity Making in the Border Regions of the European North” convened by Maria Lähteenmäki with a presentation by Nuccio Mazzullo,

“Movement for Pleasure – the Pleasure of Moving” convened by Otto Habeck and Ludek Broz with a presentation by Anna Stammler-Gossmann,

“Imagining the Supernatural North” convened by Stephan Donecker with a presentation by our friend Alexandr Artemiev (Kulan) about new Siberian spirituality together with Florian Stammler (see following entry on Dolpins in this blog)

several sessions on extractive industries in the Arctic (one convened by Florian Stammler & Jessica Shadian, one by Hannu Heikkinen and one by Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger & Florian Stammler with several presentations by our team members and affiliates from Rovaniemi, Oulu and Vienna

“Human Aspects of Fisheries in the Arctic Coastal Regions” convened by Peter Weiss et al with a presentation by Anna Stammler-Gossmann

a plenary session on “Arctic Social Sciences Beyond IPY” convened by Igor Krupnik with a presentation by Florian Stammler

and a “Exploratory Roundtable: Perceptions and Representations of Arctic Science” convened by Otto Habeck with a presentation by Anna Stammler-Gossmann

If you want you can watch here general information about the recent ICASS by president Joan Nymard-Larsen who will stay in office until president-elect Gail Fondahl will take over from her.