In spring we were proud to host the world’s first anthropological PhD defence in english by a Nenets colleague, Roza Laptander. Now we are happy that she got her first postdoc employment in the big EU Charter project that looks at biodiversity changes, reindeer herding and the climate. We continue working with Roza in work package three of that project, and in this function she shared thoughts on socio-linguistic research, the Yamal Nenets and her work on silence and stories in a video, which you can watch here.
Listening to the presentation of Ms Kanae from the Japanese cabinet office at the Japan-Finland Joint Committee meeting on Cooperation in Science and Technology, I was impressed how human social evolution as a concept continues to play such a significant role even in concrete decision making. Japan accepted a holistic radical development plan called society 5.0 which bases on the idea of human evolution since the early hunter-gatherer societies to the future.
According to the presentation of Ms Kanae, the distinctive feature of society 5.0 is how cyberspace is integrated with physical space in a sophisticated way. And how economic growth is reconciled with resolution of social issues, which was not as high on the agenda in the previous social development models. The aim is a “human-centered and inclusive society” . The Japanese government plans to work towards this with what they call the “Moonshot Research and Development Programme “. It consists of seven goals, the first of which being mainly about well-being, namely ” Realization of a society in which human beings can be free from limitations of body, brain, space, and time by 2050″.
I liked the unconventional way in which a government official presented this vision of their society of the future, where they want to work towards creating conditions where “everyday life is happy and fun”!
This makes me think that with the prominent position of happiness and fun not only purposeful and eaudaemonic notions, but also hedonistic notions of well-being play an important role in the society of the future. This is probably also very good news for young people, who in our current research project have emphasized the significance of opportunities to enhance the fun-aspect of life in the North, as particularly Lukas Allemann and Ria Adams shall emphasize in their forthcoming publications.
for many of our readers Markku Lehmuskallio won’t need an introduction. He is a world acclaimed film maker, and a friend of our team. Some of you may remember their previous visit, when we hosted them with some reindeer meat. See here https://arcticanthropology.org/2012/08/31/anastasia-lapsui-and-markku-lehmusskallio-guests-of-the-team-in-rovaniemi/
This time Markku continues his loyalty to us in the North and comes on Friday 30 October to Rovaniemi for screening his most recent film, “ANERCA-, BREATH OF LIFE“. The screening itself is in the Rovaniemi cinema BioRex at 16:30. But before that we have the honour to meet with Markku and his colleague, Juha Elomäki, for an hour, at 15:00, in the Thule room in the Arctic Centre. Due to covid-19 we cannot invite everybody, but a limited number of people to this event. If you want to come and you are not a member of the anthropology team in Rovaniemi, please write a short note that you intend to come, to fstammle(at)ulapland.fi , so we can keep track of the numbers of people (also for cooking enough coffee:))
Here some background about the film, which is a co-production between father and son – Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio:
ANERCA-, BREATH OF LIFE (Finland 2020) 86 min, JURY PRIZE RÉGION DE NYON (CHF 10’000): MOST INNOVATIVE FEATURE FILM
A history of conquests and land exploitation we never heard of. A film where ethnography is looking for a new mesmerizing language, giving us the complexity of reality.
A narrative film about the world of people living in the Arctic, their situation as it is right now.
The film progresses through the power of music, dance, performance and depiction of everyday life. Gaining your daily sibsistence, the ordinary life is the central source for music and other kinds of selfexpression. It is life itself breathing.
Markku Lehmuskallio has devoted the majority of his films to the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle, co-directed with Anastasia Lapsui, his Nenets partner. In Anerca, Breath of Life co-created with his son Johannes, the Finnish filmmakers set off to discover, among others, the Chukchi, Inuit, and Sami peoples, who have had to learn to live, from Russia to Alaska, on territories whose borders are redefined by white conquerors in the name of a deadly ideology of progress. Bringing together testimonies, archives, sung or danced performances caught on camera, the two directors are not exploring the traditional lifestyles of these nomad communities—in the manner of Flaherty and the seminal Nanook of the North—mistreated by predatory policies that have sought to deny their irreducible difference, but what they call a “vital breath”. Their poetic and contemporary ethnography focuses much more on the inner world of these peoples, inseparable from forms of existence shaped over time, like so many seeds in a shared imagination that continues to animate bodies and spirits. (Text by Emmanuel Chicon)
This initiative sounds very promising. I think we would need a publication that explores anthropologically the specifics of gender organisation in Arctic societies, not only in villages but also the tundra / taiga as well as towns and cities.
The podium discussion “Current Challenges and Future Perspectives of Arctic Youth: Rural Areas and LGBTQI+ Communities” will take place on 20 October, 15:00-16:30 GMT
The streaming will be on the Nordic House Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/635203050688920
And also on their website: https://nordichouse.is/en/event/samtal-um-nordurslodir-nuverandi-askoranir-og-framtidarsyn-ungs-folks-a-nordurslodum-dreifbyli-og-hinsegin-samfelog/
This comes pretty late, but who knows, maybe they extend the deadline? Colleagues want us to spread the news of PhD jobs funded at Tromso and Oslo and with a focus on the Greenlandic capital of Nuuk.
The project “Urban transformation in a warming Arctic” (UrbTrans) is currently seeking two PhD fellows. If you would be so kind as to circulate the call to relevant candidates I would greatly appreciate it.
The PhD fellows will be employed at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the University of Oslo, and will be working in an interdisciplinary research group. The PhDs can come from a range of fields in the social sciences and humanities, including but not limited to science and technology studies (STS), indigenous studies, history, social anthropology, human geography, and sociology.
PhD position in Tromsø: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/186964/phd-fellow-affiliated-with-the-project-urban-transformation-in-a-warming-arctic Application deadline: 30 September 2020.
PhD position in Oslo: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/192867/phd-research-fellow-in-science-and-technology-studies Application deadline: 25 October 2020.
UrbTrans is a radically interdisciplinary project that will examine the development of Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, in the period from 1950 and until today. The aim of the project is to describe how Nuuk’s citizens and authorities meet the changes caused by global warming, as well as to identify how Nuuk’s colonial past is activated in and affects ongoing transformation processes.
Our colleagues would like us to widely announce these two job adverts in indigenous studies
The Global Studies Department at the University of California, Irvine will be hiring two assistant professors in July 2021. One position is in Global Racial Studies, and the other in Global Indigenous Studies.
“We are interested in outstanding interdisciplinary scholars trained from across the social sciences and humanities. The candidate’s research should engage important global issues in innovative ways. The candidate will be participating in a diverse intellectual environment and developing curriculum around global theory, non-western epistemologies, and pressing regional and transnational issues manifesting in the lives and experiences of people.
The deadline for both positions is 1 November, 2020 and further information can be found at our department website:
Last week on the Internet was published a short video about two very old Nenets Syadei with the following text:
- Cambridge University Museums have been running a project called ‘Museum Remix – Unheard’ during lockdown. It’s an invitation to re-interpret the stories museums tell. Each month they have released a challenge – this month’s is ‘Video’. Curators present a selection of objects from Cambridge collections using short videos; viewers are invited to respond by making a 3-minute video in any format by September 30. The information is here: https://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/museumremix Absolutely anyone over the age of 16 is very welcome to participate.The selection of objects includes two Syadei (sacred wooden figures) made by members of the Siberian Nenets community, held at the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum. Here’s the video about them, which I made over the summer: https://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/magic/syadei-sacred-objects You’ll find a Russian version there too.The SPRI museum team would love to get some feedback from Russia, and especially from the Nenets community; this feedback doesn’t necessarily have to fall within the Museum Remix project. We are also hoping simply to let members of the Nenets community know that we hold these objects. I would be very grateful if you could circulate these links to people who might be interested – and/or let me know if there’s anyone in particular I should contact. Thanks!
After this publication, I asked my daughter´s opinion about these Nenets Syadeis and their story which is now published on the Internet. It was interesting to know this young Nenets opinion about using Nenets religious items for the public performance. What surprised me was that my daughter reacted quite emotionally to this video and said that she does not agree that this Syadei on the video is undressed. She said that according to Nenets customs and ethics it is not allowed to show a naked body to anybody, therefore even Nenets wooden idols, like Syadei and other domestic family religious items, should have own clothes. Also, the Nenets researcher Galina Kharuchi said, that it is quite common to give to Nenets idols sometimes presents. It can be new clothes or coins from white metal, even if they are in a museum. So, maybe it is a good advice for museum curators how they can thank these idols for their work. However, I do not think that these Syadeis are an example of the exploitation of the indigenous religious heritage since they are now museum objects.
Shared by Francis Joy: an employment position in Manchester. A job opportunity for Russian speaking social anthropologists interested in animism and environment – research associate for a 6 year project called “Cosmological Visionaries: Shamans, Scientists and Climate Change at the Ethnic Borderlands of China and Russia”. A Manchester-based ‘Russia team’ will conduct qualitative interview-based research each year on deforestation, climate change and animist cosmologies in Northern Siberia and Russian Far East
The population of Russia officially supported the suggested changes in the world’s largest country’s constitution, with almost 78% of those who voted. Half of the circumpolar Arctic, including most of its indigenous peoples, will be governed by a different constitution from now on. Looking at the results of the vote, it is, however, noticeable how certain regions in the Arctic deferred from the general voting pattern.Continue reading “Arctic view on Russia’s changed constitution”