Khanty activists Agrafena Sopochina travelled to Lapland

Together with with my friend and colleague Agrafena Semjonovna Sopochina and her daughter Marija Launonen travelled recently through northern Finland and Norway, to Tallinn and to St. Petersburg during the second part of August 2016. A detailed travelogue about our journey I published here and here. We made contacts with Sámi activists and politicians, artists …

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The Khanty Bear Feast revisited

I have visited the Western Siberian Khanty in the vicinity of the oil towns in the Surgut region for twenty years now. Never could I have imagined I would see a performance of the famous Khanty Bear Ceremony documented thirty years ago by the Estonian intellectual and film director Lennar Meri in his film ”The …

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X SIBERIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE – PASSION FOR LIFE, Emotions, Feelings and Perception in the North and Siberia

A really early announcement for a great conference on Arctic Anthropology! I hope to meet many of the readers of our blog in a years time in St. Petersburg in order to discuss an important theme in our field. As some of you might have guessed I would like to distract the participants' attention a …

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New book: Before Boas – The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment

I would like to announce a newly published book exploring why the cradle of our discipline was to be found in ethnographic research in the Russian Arctic. The present book sums up the results of decades of research into early ethnographic scholarship during the exploration of Siberia in the 18th century and its links to …

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“Before the Snow” – A documentary about Siberian people published online

The film by Christian Vagt features three important indigenous leaders and story tellers from the Khanty and Forest Nenets communities of Western Siberia – Josif Kechimov, Yuri Vella and Agrafena Pesikova. It is a short documentary filmed in 2007 in the West Siberian Taiga about indigenous concepts of their relationship with ghosts and the danger …

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In Memory of a Great Teacher

Yuri Vella left this world on the 12th of September 2013 Almost exactly 20 years ago three German students of anthropology get off a helicopter in the middle of the Western Siberian forest tundra, over 100 km from the next settlement. They see a little wooden hut and a couple with two small kids is …

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“Drinking and Driving is so much Fun” – Arctic Workshop at the University of Tartu in Estonia May 31 – June 1, 2013

“Drinking and driving is so much fun” is an unusual title for an anthropological workshop. It was just the right provocation to induce serious reflections on something that anthropologists usually reserve for the famous “corridor talk” during conferences, when they discuss ambivalent fieldwork experiences difficult to integrate into the success stories of anthropological research. The …

Continue reading “Drinking and Driving is so much Fun” – Arctic Workshop at the University of Tartu in Estonia May 31 – June 1, 2013