Relations and beyond – keynotes by Vitebsky, Strathern and Ingold to be streamed

At the Arctic Circle in Finland, Rovaniemi, we are frantically putting the finishing touches to the programme of the biennial conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society, from 21-23 March 2023. The programme is now online, here . More on the keynotes below, .

Alla and Puti Okotetto enact their relation with cards, Yamal Peninsula, Sabetta, 2001

It’s going to be a historical event: I don’t recall that an anthropology conference in Finland has ever attracted so many people – more than 300. Thank you for your tremendous interest. As anthropology research team in a small provincial University at the Arctic Circle, we should be realistic and acknowledge that this popularity is a lot thanks to our distinguished keynote speakers:

Piers Vitebsky will give the 2023 Westermarck lecture, at 6 pm. Many even beyond anthropological scholarship know him from his award winning books the Reindeer People (2005) and Living Without the Dead (2017). Not many anthropologists have managed to get so deeply emersed and even personally entangled with the lives of their friends and partners in so two different fields as Siberia and India. Piers is going to share his decade-long insights from both these places for our understanding of human-spirit relations.

Marilyn Strathern is – besides all her other merits – of key significance for our conference not least because of her seminal book on relations, the overarching topic of our conference. In her keynote on the 22nd March she will reflect on how to think further, now that she has already worked so intensively on relations: what comes next?

A very different approach to our understanding of relations is connected to Tim Ingold, who has been an instrumental mentor since the very establishing of an anthropology research focus in Rovaniemi at the Arctic Centre in 2005. For him, relations are at the heart of any inquiry into life of any organism. His keynote on the 22nd March may show us what this means for the agenda of anthropology as a whole.

We are very grateful that all three distinguished speakers agreed to come and join us for this historical event. If everything goes well, we may celebrate this historical gathering with all three of them on a podium in the final discussion on the 23 March. We cannot deny that there is a ‘certain’ bias in our distinguished keynotes to Cambridge anthropology – all three guests come from the Cambridge school of social anthropology, and two of them are still there, while Tim Ingold took the Cambridge heritage on to Manchester and Aberdeen to establish the strongest focus on Arctic Anthropology in any department for decades. We chose these speakers because they have influenced so much the way in which we established the anthropology research team in Rovaniemi, and because we thought it will be a memorable and precious opportunity to gather them all in one place. The organising team would like to thank all participants already now for their vivid interest in this event. We are so honoured that you all come to the Arctic Circle and share your precious scholarly wisdom with us, and make this event a major leap forward in our continuous quest to understand the world better in all its facets.

Unfortunately not all who wanted to join us could – as our facilities cannot really handle more than 300 participants. Although the conference is on-site only, we are therefore happy to announce that the three keynotes and the final plenary will be streamed online. Feel free to join and watch. There will be a separate link for each session but from that general page you can find all of them.

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