After recently having celebrated the world’s first Nenets PhD defense, now we can witness another one, in three days time, 14 May 11.15 Norwegian time! Zoya Vylka Ravna shall defend her thesis with the very technical name “The Inter-Generational Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge By Nenets Women: Viewed in the context of the state educational system of Russia.” Surely this is going to be an interesting look by a European Nenets woman who studied trajectories of child upbringing in both the European and the Yamal part of the Nenets tundras. At the end of her popular summary to her thesis, she is very critical about the contemporary boarding school system, arguing that it “undermines the ability of nomadic Nenets communities to maintain their traditional and unique Arctic nomadic culture”.
This is controversial, because on the other hand we know that the boarding school education in Yamal actually enables mothers to stay at home in the tundra with their families and reindeer and continue a nomadic lifestyle, rather than having to move to the village to care for their children who are in school. Elena Lyarskaya’s research has more argued in this direction, and partially so has Alexandra Terekhina too emphasizing that so far nomadic education cannot guarantee equal chances of children in later life with those who went to a stationary school. So we look forward to an interesting discussion during the defense. The principal opponent will be prominent, and surely inspiring: Piers Vitebsky, who has worked intensively on gender and the land in the Russian Arctic. To attend the online-defense, click here