Domestication is by most used as a term for the biologically traceable subordination of animals under human control. But anthropologists have for long argued that there are also social definitions of domestication. Very influential was the one by Tim Ingold (2000), who classified domestication as either characterise between a relation of trust or a relation of domination between humans and animals. A distinguished group of researchers spent two days at a conference in very creative and intellectually demanding talks about this issue.
The event was hosted by Tohoku University in Japan (see here for a programme), and co-organised by Director Hiroki Takakura together with Florian Stammler. In combination, we are happy that we managed to have invited some of the principal contributors of recent debates on domestication from various disciplines. In a way the meeting was partly like a continuation of debates that we had at recent seminars of the Finnish Academy’s Arktiko programme in November 2011, and then at the ArcArk final seminar in Rovaniemi in December 2018.
Our colleagues from the peace studies institute in Tromso share the announcement to this conference, which sounds interesting. https://uit.no/tavla/artikkel/564387/resisting_extractivism_in_border_zones
It is worth travelling north in mid June to experience one of the wonders of the Arctic. It is polar day when the sun disappears only for a very short time under the horizon and the sunset is fading into a sunrise for hours during the night colouring the horizon in a million different shades of blue, red and yellow.
I enthusiastically confirmed when I received an invitation to visit a conference on local horse breeds in Russia often threatened by extinction. Accompanied by my friend and photographer Christian Vagt I travelled the long road to the old Russian town of Mezen. Small workshop-like symposia in contrast to big international conferences allow for a more intense exchange of ideas. They enable to establish close contacts among colleagues that often grow into future collaborations or even friendship.
This conference was organised by the leading specialist on the Mezen horse breed Irina Borisovna Yur’eva of the Arkhangelsk Scientific Institute of Agriculture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. One of the main impressions left by the event was that around the local horse breeds in Russia you also always meet a special breed of people – real enthusiasts who fight not only for their cause, but are also amazingly communicative and social.
People of different scientific institutions from Russia, Belorussia, Norway and Finland visited the conference in the regional centre – the town of Mezen – and on the second and third day of the conference travelled to the nearby village of Lampozhnya. Here, at one of the oldest settlements on the Mezen River they witnessed a two days horse tourism competition, where local people and guests compete with their own and their horses’ skills in riding and hiking.
I presented the results of the Anthropology Team of the Arctic Centre Rovaniemi as the comparative research on human-animal relations in the Arctic Ark project. We contrasted the sociocultural significance and vernacular breeding practices of three different horse breeds and the forms of adaptation of the human-animal relationship in a changing Arctic.
Colleagues coming mostly from agricultural sciences and biology were greatly interested in the insights in symbiotic adaptation of humans and horses and the idea of distance and independence as important for social relations in the North.
We could witness a heated discussion between two conceptual factions of colleagues – one promoting maximum contact with animals as the goal of horse breeding and the other claiming that you neither have to ride nor manage the horses’ behaviour with that much scrutiny in order to understand and build relations with the animal.
Other, yet not much studied differences in human relations with horses involve gender aspects. We very well know the transition of horse breeding from am masculine domain in an agriculturalist context to the favourite hobby of girls in an urban setting. There seems to also be a distinction of between those riders and hobby breeders who favour mares and those that favour stallions.
Russia is divided into regions where horsemeat is the most important economic asset of horse breeding but also of high cultural value, and others, where it is considered almost a taboo or symbol of economic and cultural decline to breed horses for meat. I was surprised to learn that Russia is an importer of horsemeat from abroad and often meat of low quality is brought into the country. While in Norway or Finland horses are mostly held for the growing business of breeding sports horses, the local horse breeding in Russia shows the full range of the different uses of horses from their role as working horses in agriculture and pastoralism, in meat production, recreation and tourism as well as hippotherapy, to its use in cultural events and sports.
Some links to institutions, which took part in the conference (only in Russian):
The Arkhangelsk Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture of the Primorsky Branch of Federal State Budgetary Institution on Science (FSBIS) Federal Research Centre of Complex Study of the Arctic (FRCCSA) of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) – the leading institution of research on the Mezen horse coordinated by Irina Borisovna Yur’eva.
VANDA is an international conference, first to be held in Vienna in fall 2018, aimed at bringing together scholars from various fields of anthropology and ethnology, as well as other social sciences and humanities. While there is a certain regional focus, by proactively addressing researchers and students from Central and Eastern Europe, the conference is open to all from near and afar.
VANDA wants to be more than a mainstream science conference; its intention is to serve as a place where young researchers and early career scholars find a welcoming environment. Therefore, this International Conference also includes a Young Scholars’ Forum, where aspiring graduate students can network, can receive mentoring and practical advice, and have a chance to meet experienced colleagues and profit from their know-how.
VANDA is a joint effort by three anthropological institutions in town – the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Weltmuseum Wien (formerly the Museum of Ethnology), and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.
The keynote is going to be by a scholar from Poland Michal Buchowski . The call for papers is now open, and we are all warmly invited to contribute. More details are here
From October 13 to October 19, 2017, the Uarctic Thematic network “Arctic Extractive Industries” held a masters/Phd course on the topic of Security, Governance and Geopolitics in relation to Arctic Extractive Industries. This time the organizers invited participants to Iceland. The course brought together students and faculty from Arctic universities and research centers from 10 different countries. The program came in three stages:
August 31 is the deadline for paper submissions to a congress in Moscow. Judging from the keynote speakers, this should be also very interesting for us anthropologists, because it’s not only about hard core linguistic studies, but very much about the cultural context in which speakers of different languages get into contact. Have a look
Language contact in the circumpolar world
Institute of Linguistics RAS, Moscow, Russia; 27-29 October 2017
Extension of deadline to August 31
The circumpolar world includes the Arctic as defined by AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program) with adjacent areas. This vast territory has a number of common features that set it apart from any other part of the world: extremely harsh climate conditions, low population density, large distances between speakers of different languages or even of the same language, seasonal migrations for hundreds of miles, prevalence of hunter-gatherers with absolutely no traditional farming, etc. While language contact has been a popular topic of linguistic research in the last couple of decades, there have been few studies that would concentrate on the circumpolar region and specifics of language contact in the area.
The ‘Language contact in the circumpolar world’ conference will bring together researchers studying language contact in the North, and discussions of any aspect of the topic are welcome. Of particular importance is the question of whether language contact in the circumpolar world is different from that of other areas, and if so, in which particular respects.
The conference will feature papers selected by the Organizing committee, invited lectures by leading international experts specializing in the topic, and two extended tutorials on particular parts of the circumpolar world, ‘Language Contact in Arctic Canada & Greenland’ by Michael Fortesque (University of Copenhagen) and ‘Language Contact in Arctic Europe’ by Jussi Ylikoski (The Arctic University of Norway & University of Oulu).
We welcome abstracts from colleagues working on a variety of topics pertaining to language contact in the circumpolar region that include but are not limited to:
language change conditioned by language contact,
linguistic areas or Sprachbund’s,
reconstructing the past through linguistic data,
patterns of traditional or modern multilingualism,
sociolinguistic details of modern or historic language contact,
northern varieties of larger languages that are not restricted to the region (e.g. dialects of Russian, Swedish, English, etc.),
cartography of language contact areas,
methodology of language contact studies which takes into account specific features of the region.
Confirmed plenary speakers:
Michael Fortescue (University of Copenhagen)
Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago)
Brigitte Pakendorf (CNRS, Lyon)
Nikolai Vakhtin (European University of St. Petersburg)
Jussi Ylikoski (The Arctic University of Norway & University of Oulu)
Olesya Khanina & Andrej Kibrik (Chairs), Maria Amelina, Mira Bergelson, Valentin Gusev, Olga Kazakevich, Elena Klyachko, Yuri Koryakov, and Natalia Stoynova.
The conference will be held in English. Organizers will assist participants in finding accommodation in the vicinity of the conference location.
The extended deadline for abstract submission is August 31, 2017. Notifications of acceptance or non-acceptance will be sent via email soon after that date. Please submit an anonymous abstract of no more than 1 page (excluding references) by email to circumpolar.conference2017(at)gmail.com; include a title, authors, and affiliations in your email
On 23 March 2017, The Anthropology Research Team is happy to invite Professor Tim Ingold to participate as a guest discussant to a workshop that will be held at the Arctic Centre, in the Thule Room, from 12:30-14:00. The workshop shall give the possibility to all those who have attended Professor Ingold’s lectures at the University of Lapland, last week, and who are doing research in the Arctic and with Arctic related issues, to briefly introduce their current research topic (3 minutes) and pose some questions. Professor Ingold shall make some comments on the most relevant issues and we shall then turn it in a discussion on those issues that have most resonance with our current research questions. Contact: Nuccio Mazzullo
This is the general topic of the next course in our PhD programme by the Uarctic Thematic Network “Arctic Extractive Industries. It’s going to take place this time again in the wonderful town of St John’s Newfoundland, Canada.
PhD students who have an interest in participating (this time self-funded, I hope you find funds to come!!!), can write a 200 words abstract to one of the organisers. Spaces are limited, especially because of the limited presentation slots that we have at the conference, in conjunction to which we will hold this. Preference will be given to those who
1) already participated in an earlier course in our programme and want to complete the entire Uarctic certificate;
2) PhD students willing to commit to completing the program and to presenting at Petrocultures; and
3) Master’s students interesting in participating more or less as observers.
For European students: Uarctic TN partner students can use this course for 10 credits ECTS towards their PhD studies, if approved by their supervisor and completed fully with submitted paper. The Ulapland course code is TUKO 1217.
Here is a course abstract:
An interdisciplinary exploration of resource development versus other community sustainability options’
St. John’s Newfoundland; Aug 29 to Sun Sept 04, 2016.
We will be offering an intensive one-week PhD course comingled with the Petrocultures conference in St. John’s beginning on Monday aug 29, 2016. The theme of this course is ‘An interdisciplinary exploration of resource development versus other community sustainability options’. In brief, there are many reasons why resource development in remote regions can be damaging in social, environmental and economic terms. Yet, alternatives that can lead to sustainable economic security for remote peoples are often elusive, while resource development promises opportunities for local residents.
Our group, the Uarctic Thematic Network in Extractive Industries, has offered semi-annual PhD courses of this nature since 2012. This course will differ from some of the previous one in format: the first two days will consist of three seminars of roughly 2.5 hours’ duration. Each of those six seminars will be co-presented by one faculty member and one or several PhD students. The purpose of these co-presented seminars is to maximize student involvement, and to facilitate an exploration of ideas and implications, and relevant academic readings and theories, across sessions. This will be an interactive course in which students will be expected to join in discussions within each seminar. This format will facilitate even more intensive academic interaction between PhD students and professors.
On the final three days, students in our course will attend the Petrocultures conference, and will present their research within specially designated sessions. There will also be specified conference sessions to attend as part of the course, and a final mandatory discussion session for registered students at the conclusion of the conference, late on September 03, to reflect on the overall themes emerging from the course and conference.
Enquiries: Prof Arn Keeling <akeeling(at)mun.ca>, Prof Gordon Cooke <gcooke(at)mun.ca> (cc to Thematic Network coordinator Florian Stammler <fstammle(at)ulapland.fi>)