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)

4 thoughts on “Arctic Crossings at AAA Annual Meeting, San Francisco

  1. fstammle

    Thank you for sharing this programme. Familiar names and close colleagues. Too bad none of us here can join. Please pass on warm greetings also to Tobias and Barbara. Wish you a successful panel! If you think there is something that others who were not at the panel can be interested in from your discussion, please share it here at the blog, maybe as another comment to this post?
    Best, Florian

  2. fstammle

    Hello participants to this panel. Did anybody write a short report, or own views on this panel, whoever participated there? We would be very interested in finding how it went, and what was discussed there. Thanks Florian

  3. saravk

    Hi Florian! I will post my comments later this week or early next week – still catching up after the conference! All best

  4. saravk

    For those interested – summary of Arctic Crossings Panel (AAA 2012)

    Our panel at the American Anthropological Association conference took place on Saturday afternoon, and it had been organized by Lindsey Bell and I (Sara Komarnisky) to address how the circumpolar north is produced through connections with other geographies, and drawing on the idea of “Arctic Crossings,” to frame how we might talk about about northern life to focus on things like the crossings between long time resident and newcomer, between locations north and south, between local livelihoods and transnational global capital – things like that. This theme was also chosen to intersect with the theme of the 2012 AAA Meeting, “Borders and Crossings”.

    Each paper took up this theme really successfully, each at a different scale and in a different way, and this made for a really coherent and interesting session!

    Tobias Holzlehner (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) delivered the first paper about the border practices of the Bering Strait region. Instead of talking about borders as strict territorial divisions, he instead gave us a picture of the Bering Strait borderlands as shifting over time, and how people use and have used this borderland area as a resource over time. Here you get a sense of how this border area was produced over time by state, commercial, and local actors. Tobias has a website about this project, and it’s very interesting to look at:

    Next Marie Lowe (University of Alaska, Anchorage) delivered a paper about urbanization across the circumpolar north. She talked about how urbanization across the “New North” is on the rise, and expected to increase, and also highlighted an important gender dimension to this: women are much more likely to leave rural homes to move to urban areas. Taking a circumpolar view on this allows us to see the commonalities among Northern Rim countries in terms of urbanization, and as our discussant Barbara Bodenhorn (Cambridge) pointed out, a Circumpolar analytic frame disrupts the more prevalent East-West or North-South view that many people use.

    Sara Komarnisky (University of British Columbia) spoke next about the “northern borderlands” produced by people of Mexican background in Alaska. She talked about how people work to produce a sense of belonging in Alaska by connecting Alaska and Mexico in their everyday lives and travels and how this placemaking in some ways relocates the US-Mexico border to Alaska, making it clear how this border and its inequalities are relevant across the whole continent, all the way to the Last Frontier.

    Finally, Lindsey Bell (University of Toronto) delivered the final paper, about “Destiny’s Crossings” – three crossings, or movements, made by a Hay River woman as she struggles within and against the individual mobility that is enforced on people by communities, even while industry tries to keep them still. For Lindsey, crossings like Destiny’s both constitute and undermine northern resource extraction and by extension Canadian political economy more generally.

    You can see already common themes of movement and migration, control of movement, intersections of global capital and individual lives, gender, and borders and boundaries run through many of these papers. We had a productive discussion, and a good time at dinner afterwards!

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