Tenure Track Position in Oulu, Finland: Cultural Histories and Traditional Knowledge of Resource Use

Our anthropology colleague Prof Hannu Heikkinen from Oulu just sent this around. Seems to be a rather rare opportunity for a permanent job in Arctic Anthropology!

Arctic Interactions (ArcI) is a programme designed to achieve global leadership in the area of “Understanding and mitigating global change in the Arctic through fundamental studies at the interface between the natural and social sciences in the north”. These studies are aimed at weaving new discoveries and understanding into sustainable resource use, while informing those dedicated to mitigation and providing the information needed to help achieve sustainable communities throughout the North. The ArcI community in Oulu include 30 PIs linked to three research areas (www.oulu.fi/arci).

Job description

The tenure track position “Cultural histories and traditional knowledge of resource use” will strengthen the ArcI research area “Human-environmental relationship” (https://www.oulu.fi/kvantum/node/56116 ).

The research of the tenure track position should examine cultural histories and traditional environmental knowledge of natural resource use by using past records and data mining methods to identify key cultural conceptions and practices, that are focal to local communities to adapt to changing environmental condition and affect how the environment and its resources are used and understood. The position will be based at the Unit of History, Culture and Communication, the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu.

The tenure track position is open to highly talented individuals who hold a doctoral degree and have excellent potential for a successful scientific career. Based on the experience and competence, the successful applicant will be placed at the level of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor.

Call text:

https://rekry.saima.fi/certiahome/open_job_view.html?did=5600&jc=1&id=00008955&lang=fi

Sharing Polar Cultures and Knowledge: Perspectives from Libraries and Archives

Our colleagues from the library have alerted us to their colloquium, which is this year about the participation of knowledge-holders in the sharing and archiving practices that have transformed the role of libraries. Please see this announcement. The meeting is from 7-13 June 2020 in Quebec city. https://www.fourwav.es/view/1500/info/

All information professionals are invited to the Colloquy. Proposals on other subjects related to northern or polar information will also be considered.

Abstract:

Do librarians and archivists have a significant role in sharing Indigenous and non-Indigenous northern cultures? Do they still have a real impact in 2019 on the transmission of knowledge related to the polar world? How can the physical and virtual spaces of libraries and archive centres remain, in the era of information and communication technologies, essential places for sharing cultures and knowledge about the North and the Poles? The organizers invite you to submit papers on projects, services or thoughts related to these issues. Within the context of libraries and archives, the following sub-themes could be addressed:

  • Cultural exchanges and connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous northern communities.
  • Transmission of Indigenous and non-Indigenous northern traditional knowledge and practices.
  • First Nations involvement in information management, preservation or dissemination.
  • Reconciliation and decolonization of libraries and archives.
  • Enhancement of heritage documents related to polar cultures and knowledge.
  • Popularization of major social and environmental issues and democratization of scientific knowledge related to northern or polar territories.
  • Establishing a culture of data preservation and sharing among northern or polar researchers.
  • Interdisciplinary and intersectoral management of research data on northern or polar territories.
  • Contributions from libraries or archive centres to foster the practice of interdisciplinarity in research on northern and polar territories.

 

 

WHO/ВОЗ

1st December: “World Aids Day” Всемирный день борьбы со СПИДом – ВИЧ и коренные народы Севера в России HIV and indigenous peoples in Russia

(English version see bеlow, after the end of the Russian text)

WHO/ВОЗ
picture: WHO/ВОЗ

В связи с этой датой хотелось бы обратить внимание на один аспект эпидемии ВИЧ-инфекции в России, который еще недостаточно изучен и мало известен широкой общественности.  Я и сам относительно недавно узнал о нем.

Как показывают исследования у коренного населения Севера риск заразиться ВИЧ выше, чем у остальных жителей России (см. Буторов 2018, Волова и Родиниа 2016, 2014 Истомин и Мефодьев 2015). Эта инфекция в России встречается гораздо чаще, чем в странах Европы, а среди коренного населения Ямало-Ненецкого и Ханты-Мансийского округов ВИЧ распространяется еще быстрее. Continue reading “1st December: “World Aids Day” Всемирный день борьбы со СПИДом – ВИЧ и коренные народы Севера в России HIV and indigenous peoples in Russia”

We don’t survive – we live here!

These were the introductory words of Alexandr Ivanov, the head of the Olenek district in Yakutia, in his discussion during our session on indigenous people’s territorial governance under industrial development at the Northern Forum for sustainable development in Yakutsk, 25 – 26 September 2019 (full session programme).

IMG_0827
practicing governance on the land: herding reindeer through a gold deposit in Neryungryi District, Yakutia

He thought it is useful to remind researchers from any field and country that there is a tendency in scholarship to portray indigenous life in the Russian Arctic as a struggle for survival, rather than a quest for harnessing opportunities, achieve well-being and happiness, and just living at home. This stems from the old idea that the Arctic is a resource frontier with a tough climate rather than home for people. Social scientists doing Arctic Studies have acknowledged this long ago, and published on it before. Continue reading “We don’t survive – we live here!”

Do animal livelihoods in the Arctic suffer from global warming?

This was one of the questions covered in an interdisciplinary exhibition on the effects of global warming and melting permafrost in Yakutia, on display in the Hokkaido museum of northern peoples. The exhibition with the title Thawing Earth – Global Warming in Central Yakutia is a nice example of co-production of knowledge between natural and social scientists and outreach experts, in a Japanese research project entitled “Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS)”. Organisers Atsushi Nakada from the Hokkaido Museum and Hiroki Takakura from the Centre for Northeast Asian Studies in Japan connected the available science evidence on climate change in Central Yakutia with practitioners’ knowledge on the effects. For a western visitor to the

IMG_20190313_121442
these bumps are one of the reasons of less grazing land available for hay-making

Continue reading “Do animal livelihoods in the Arctic suffer from global warming?”

Cambridge job offer, Russian Arctic Studies

Today we pass on the job advert of colleagues at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. They search for a new person responsible for the world’s top Russian Arctic science library outside of Russia. The SPRI Russian library is really unique, I can tell from my own studies there. They have almost everything, and their catalogue also includes english abstracts of Russian books, which is extremely helpful. The library has a lot of ethnography and anthropology of the Russian Arctic. Anyone interested can apply, here the text of colleague Piers Vitebsky below:

“… the Russian section of the library might become a mammoth – huge and mighty, but stuck in permafrost and not evolving.  But I’m very happy to say that the institute is now advertising for a replacement Russian bibliographer.  The deadline is 24 March and the link to the advert is:
The position combines expertise in both Russian and bibliography.  I have asked and been told that a good scholarly knowledge of Russian (for example through experience of using library sources for one’s own research) is more essential than a formal qualification in librarianship.  Though this is not specified in the advert, it seems that knowledge of the Russian North, and/or of sourcing material from Russian publishers, would also be a clear advantage.
I have also been told that the university should be able to appoint the most suitable person regardless of nationality.  This opens the way to applications from continental Europe, North America and Russia too.  (Obviously, fluent English will also be essential.)
We all know that this is one of the world’s key positions for supporting research on Siberia and the Russian North, and will want to make sure that really good people apply.”

Saami rights lecture, Rovaniemi

Our colleague Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi will give a lecture this Friday at 13.15 at the University of Lapland main building, with a title that would sound in english something like “rights and obligations of the Saami community”. Klemetti served as the speaker of the Finnish Saami parliament and has a PhD in anthropology. The lecture is going to be in Finnish (I see that this limits the listeners in this forum). Fore Finnish speakers outside of Rovaniemi, it will be possible to listen at https://connect.eoppimispalvelut.fi/saam0103/

If someone would go and comment on this here at the blog, it would be great.

Job: Arctic Sustainability, resilience and climate change

Fancy a career in Canada? If your are suitably qualified, you can try this one. They claim they want a special focus on indigenous knowledge too:

SSHRC CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR TIER 2
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN ARCTIC SUSTAINABILITY, RESILIENCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba invites applications for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Research Chair (CRC) Tier 2, a tenure track position at the rank of assistant professor, in the broad social science fields of Indigenous knowledge-Western science integration, community resilience, co-management, Arctic environmental economics, sustainability, or Arctic economic geography. The Government of Canada has established the CRC program to enable Canadian universities to foster world class research excellence. The proposed CRC aligns with the University’s strategic research plan that identifies Arctic System Science and Climate Change as a targeted area.

For more information please visit https://viprecprod.ad.umanitoba.ca/DEFAULT.ASPX?REQ_ID=05392

A new book about Yukaghir people

Our anthropological team would like to congratulate Dr Cecilia Odé on her new book Life with the Yukaghir: North-East Siberia’s oldest tundra people. The book was published this summer in the Netherlands. Cecilia wrote it as a diary about her linguistic fieldwork trips to the far Northeast of Siberia.  Continue reading “A new book about Yukaghir people”

Assessing damage to indigenous cultures by industrial development with maths?

I just read an interesting post by the Russian news agency TASS (in Russian) announcing proudly the launch of a new method for assessing damage to indigenous culture and livelihood during industrial development of the Arctic. Russian scholars in this field know that there has been long a discussion about how the only Russian law on the anthropological expert review (etnologicheskaia expertiza) in Sakha (Yakutia) does not duly consider damage to culture and instead has a clear focus on compensation of material damage to natural resources that indigenous people use, as Ivanova has shown (2016:1237).

Now it seems that the working group of scholars and parliament committee members that want to push ahead with a Russian-wide law on the etnologicheskaia expertiza want to focus on assessing impacts with a participatory method that bases on a mathematical model. However, from the one article that I found by one of the authors it remains unclear to me if there would be aspects considered such as loss of spiritual knowledge, language, values and other aspects where indigenous cultures differ from the dominant societies of the state they live in.

While this is certainly a timely discussion, I wondered from reading that news post how the new scientific method advertised there wants to reliably assess such damage using mathematical formula only? The text says that researchers from the Russian Economic University and Kuban University have developed a mathematical formula allowing to consider the interests of all stakeholders around investment projects in the Arctic. In the text, economics Professor Violetta Gassiy is quoted as advertising this new method as a good replacement, because the method according to which damage has been assessed so far considers 101 criteria and therewith would be “very complicated”. But I wonder, isn’t it dangerous to simplify impact on local and indigenous cultures according to a ‘one fits it all’ formula? Countless anthropological research has shown that cultures are hugely diverse and function in a very tightly integrated reciprocal relationship between people and their specific environments.

I don’t want to dump the method of our colleagues prematurely, but I want to raise awareness of the fact that just by considering what local people express as their immediate interest in an industrial project may not necessarily be the best assessment of its possibly detrimental effects to culture. So far I thought that one of the advantages of the etnologicheskaia expertiza model in Russia is that it actually relies on trained anthropologists to assess JOINTLY with local experts the long-term impact of an industrial project on culture. This, I think, goes BEYOND the hopes of members in a community to get one-off payments as compensation or employment in the industry during the project life-cycle. I am not arguing that the hopes and opportunities for local people from industrial development projects are not important to consider. It is great if colleagues in Russia have come up with a good formula to do so.

All I am saying is that by no means does this replace the need for thorough assessment of cultural impacts by trained anthropologists together with local practitioners using our main method of participant observation.

A fair impact assessment must consider hopes, opportunities as well as threats and dangers of industrial development for indigenous societies. It must not be limited to assessing compensation payments for damage that occurs on the way, but should show avenues for PREVENTING such damage to happen in the first place. Together with colleagues we have highlighted this need for going beyond damage compensation towards damage prevention in social and cultural impact assessment more than a decade ago. With continued exploration and extraction of energy and mineral resources in the Arctic, this need did not diminish but increase, but the prevalent extractivist approach to natural resource governance does not always consider this need, as we have shown recently in a special volume on the topic.

I really welcome if this new method in Russia, if it becomes applied, is going to be seen as a tool to meet the need for participatory action together with local people in assessing their immediate needs, but that it would not replace our longer term joint challenge of trying to maintain culturally specific lifestyles of local and indigenous peoples in the Arctic basing on their unique adaptation to the Arctic environment and their knowing how to use the renewable natural resources in it in a reciprocal and sustainable way.