Nenets mothers’ education: another PhD defense

After recently having celebrated the world’s first Nenets PhD defense, now we can witness another one, in three days time, 14 May 11.15 Norwegian time! Zoya Vylka Ravna shall defend her thesis with the very technical name “The Inter-Generational Transmission of Indigenous Knowledge By Nenets Women: Viewed in the context of the state educational system of Russia.” Surely this is going to be an interesting look by a European Nenets woman who studied trajectories of child upbringing in both the European and the Yamal part of the Nenets tundras. At the end of her popular summary to her thesis, she is very critical about the contemporary boarding school system, arguing that it “undermines the ability of nomadic Nenets communities to maintain their traditional and unique Arctic nomadic culture”.

Continue reading “Nenets mothers’ education: another PhD defense”

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 (

Job description

The tenure track position “Cultural histories and traditional knowledge of resource use” will strengthen the ArcI research area “Human-environmental relationship” ( ).

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:

Cities and Water in a Time of Climate Change

International PhD Academy June 1–5, 2020 in Venice

last call for Applications until February 15, 2020 via VIU website!

Join this unique opportunity for a broad global comparison of climate change results from the Arctic to the Global South, from Asia to Europe in one of the cities, that is much affected by climate change and dependent on water.

Our planet is suffering dramatic urgencies, exacerbated by climate change.
Excess and lack of water largely impact urban life in our cities and territories. Floodings and droughts are among the main causes of social tension, migrations among continents, desertification and hydrogeological risks, loss in food production, inadequate waste treatment.
Cities use too much water and too quickly for nature to keep up, and there is an urgent need to radically rethink the role of water in cities. Reducing consumption and better use of water is not enough under the pressure of climate change. Water is largely mismanaged: the preservation of aquifers and the extension of the lifecycle of water for entire cities is necessary.

Maria Chiara Tosi, Iuav University of Venice (Coordinator)
Margherita Turvani, Iuav University of Venice (Coordinator)
Francesco Musco, Iuav University of Venice
Paola Viganò, Iuav University of Venice
Bruno De Meulder, KU Leuven
Kelly Shannon, KU Leuven
Jiane Zuo, Tsinghua University
Michele Vurro, National Research Council of Italy
Andrea D’Alpaos, University of Padua
Patrizio Antici, INRS, Canada
Uwe Lübken, Ludwig Maximilian University
Oleg Pachenkov, EUSP
Stephan Dudeck, EUSP
Renzo Rosso, Polytechnic University of Milan
Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, IOM, New York
Gideon Wolfaardt, Stellenbosch University

The one-week program is structured as a series of guest lectures (from the universities partner and others), poster presentations from the participants PhD students and transversal skill sessions, structured to guide the participants towards the development and presentation of group projects.

Four thematic modules:
– Settlements and water in a time of climate change
– Historical and geographical perspectives
– Climate migrants, water, food, urban daily life
– Urban projects-policies, water projects-policies
– Site visits to provide participants with practical examples of the issues at stake.

The program also includes a parallel program of training in a range of Transversal Skills for developing their academic careers, and poster sessions for the participants to present their PhD research projects.

Who can apply?
This PhD Academy is offered to PhD students, post-docs and researchers in Urban Design, Urban Studies, Urban planning, Geography, Sociology, Economics, History of cities and water, Environmental Science and Engineering.
The PhD Academy is primarily for candidates from VIU’s member universities, although applications from excellent external candidates will be considered and evaluated. External candidates admitted to the PhD Academy will pay fees (further information available in the Brochure). VIU Alumni are eligible for a reduced fee.
Students from the VIU member institutions will pay no participation fees. Grant support is also available to support, partially or fully, the costs of international travel; accommodation on campus, in shared rooms, will be offered.

Applicants must submit the (1) application form, (2) a letter of motivation – which should include a short bio and a brief description of the candidate’s research project, (3) a curriculum vitae and (4) a photo.
For further information: please download the Brochure and the Program or write to

Another Summer school: Oulu 12-16 August 2019

Colleagues from Oulu also put together an interesting programme for their doctoral course, with a focus on studying ‘dark heritage’, i.e. civil wars, atrocities. Here is their programme description, and they say there are still some places free:
The Human Science Doctoral Student course: Monuments, visual representations, and spaces of  dark heritage, 3 credits, in the University of Oulu, 12. – 16. August 2019. Location: HUTK-HUM330, third floor.

The course outlines international dark heritage scholarship, focusing especially on memorialization of civil wars, places of atrocities and other painful and traumatic sites. The course will focus on memorialization of civil wars, like in Ireland, the USA and Finland, sites of colonial atrocities towards indigenous people in Australia, and sites of ethnic violence at the end of 19th and 20th centuries. The course will focus on different kind of memorials and other visual materials and representations, for example photographs, of these sites and people; how memorials and photographs visualize the memory of the painful incidents that occurred in the places. This course is interested in the intersection of what we consider dark heritage, what is remembered (and what
is forgotten, or even silenced) and how they are remembered in terms of how they link to wider identity issues of race, class and gender.
Course teachers:
Professor Jane Lydon, The University of Western Australia, Australia.
Professor Paul R. Mullins, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA.
Associate Professor Laura McAtackney, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Docent, Senior lecturer Timo Ylimaunu, University of Oulu, Finland.

The Course includes six (6) hours teaching each day in one-week period, 12. – 16. August
2019, so there will be 30 hours teaching in the course. Teaching will happen two hour classes before the lunch and four hours at afternoon. Students will give a short max. 15 min paper of their own doctoral research topic during the course in the workshop-type classes. Course includes two field walks in different dark heritage sites in Oulu.
Meeting location: Central lobby at University of Oulu at 9 am. 12th of August. We will have a table at there. University campus maps:
Teaching language: English.
Students will repair for the course short paper in their own research topics before the course. There is no course fee. Students will be responsible of their own travels, accommodation and living in Oulu.

Contact: timo.ylimaunu(at)

Arctic Research: Co-production of Knowledge

The intensive Finnish-Russian PhD course “Arctic Research: Co-production of Knowledge” organised by the Arctic Centre (University of Lapland) will be taking place 20-24 April 2019, in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Attention to the issue of knowledge co-production in research, policymaking, services and public debates is growing, but what counts as co-production and what interaction between science and society should entail in practice remains often unclear. The Finnish-Russian intensive PhD course provides an opportunity to learn more about the forms and values of multiple, often conflicting concepts of knowledge and discuss options available for the integration of the ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ into the Arctic research. The school offers a platform for interdisciplinary exchange in different research fields: from environmental-, identities-, indigenous-, art and design- to tourism-, extractive industries-, virtual reality- and legal studies.

Acknowledgment: Course organisers wish to thank Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI (grant number: 220000085711) for the financial support on this project.

Project coordination by Dr. Anna Stammler-Gossmann;
Project management by Dr. Nina Messtyb

See the Programme

Cambridge Arctic teaching position open

Our colleagues from the Scott Polar Research Institute search for an Arctic human geography teacher for supervising their undergraduate and masters students. The funding is fixed term for 30 months. If someone is interested in working for one of the world’s top universities – this is a rare chance in our field. See here the announcement:  The application deadline is 16 April. If you are considering to apply and want to find out some preliminary information on SPRI or life in Cambridge, talk or write to Florian.

Exploring the Arctic at Venice International University

Scholars, indigenous activists and students from both sides of the Atlantic (or Pacific?) met at the small Venetian island of San Servolo from 14th to 19th of January 2018. I am reporting here as part of a group of three professors and five students from Russia who attended the international graduate seminar “Northern Territories and Indigenous Peoples: Comparative perspectives”.  Almost 40 participants from Canada and the US, from Italy, Belgium, Germany and Russia attend the event at Venice International University.

Maria Momzikova from the EUSP presenting her research (Photo Julia Kovyrshina)

“The crucial thing is the way one can inhabit space. We do not have the chance to evaluate space in the same way in the North of Russia and Canada with their vast territories and sparse population. Old labyrinth-like Venice taught me to be satisfied with a tiny imagination of possibilities of life in the era of global warming, among the melting ice.” Anastasia Karaseva from Saint Petersburg.

A. Karaseva with the blog-author on the Rialto bridge (Photo Julia Kovyrshina)

It might seem strange to travel to Venice in January to discuss the Arctic. There might be few places on earth that seem to be less similar to each other – Venice being a densely populated small island and the Arctic as a place including different continents whose borders and populations are even difficult if not impossible to define clearly. Also in historical terms – when the star of Venice was already declining, the Arctic just started to appear on the maps of geographers. Interesting connections start to evolve: one of the early geographical atlases “Ptolemy’s Geographiae Universae” edited by Giovanni Antonio Magini and printed 1596 in Venice by Heredes Simoni Galignani presents already maps of the Arctic. Among them, a description of Siberia called Tartariae Imperium. Venetian glass was popular at that time in Russia and reached the new established Arctic towns like Mangazeya. The hunger for northern goods fuelled the expansion of trade routes into the Arctic since the middle ages and provoked the time of explorations of the 17th and 18th centuries – when the hegemony in trade for Venice was already over.

20180117-_MG_1217And of course both the Arctic and Venice suffer from exotization being inundated with cliché and imagination. For the outside world they are the source of and endless stream of kitsch but also of the uncanny and demonic that is haunting the unconscious like in Hugo Pratt’s comic “Corto Maltese: In Siberia”. It might not be the best idea to start in Venice and go on a journey to Siberia in order to collect all exotic clichés and stereotypes. It might be more productive to make the reverse journey from the ‘periphery’ and try to take a sober look at the ability of both places to enchant imaginations but also to look at the social relations and power configurations behind them.

An unconscious reminiscence of “Don’t Look Now”

The program of the Graduate Seminar interestingly united quite diverse anthropological schools. The main group was formed by researchers from Canadian universities and the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) as a cooperation with the DIALOG- Aboriginal Peoples Research and Knowledge Network. The seminar constituted for them the 14th edition of the Nomadic University intensive training program.

The island of San Servolo with the Venice International University campus (Photo Julia Kovyrshina)

Another research tradition was present through researchers from Russia in particular from the High School of Economics and the European University at Saint Petersburg. Every of this schools represent different histories and developed different methodological approaches. They even differ in their view on the relations of indigenous peoples and other inhabitants of the Arctic. To look at social problems from the perspective of trauma and healing for instance is very unusual for researchers from Russia as it is for North-Americans to look at white people not as settlers. But research grounded in fieldwork dealing with everyday life of local inhabitants is easily understandable for scholars working in different parts and historic traditions in the Arctic.

Place of pilgrimage for Russians in Venice (Photo Julia Kovyrshina)

The main target group were PhD and master students from North America, Asia and several European countries doing research mostly on and with indigenous groups. Among the teachers were indigenous activists as well. To understand the different languages of academic disciplines and schools and to detect overlapping and differences might have been the most fruitful exercise during the seminar. A lot of discussion of course as always during scientific events happened at the corridor talk at coffee breaks, receptions and during the free time. Maybe even the town added some transcendental notes to the atmosphere of the seminar as one of the Russian participants put it. One of the Canadian participants told one of the students from Venice at the first session, when she admired the view over the lagoon from the window of the lecture hall: “It’s a shame to read the papers in this weather!” to which the Venetian student replied, “I live here – it’s a shame to study in Venice”.

View from the window of the lecture hall over the lagoon (Photo Julia Kovyrshina)


How do non-Arctic actors’ interests matter the Arctic? – debates around Arctic Circle assembly

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:

Continue reading “How do non-Arctic actors’ interests matter the Arctic? – debates around Arctic Circle assembly”

Job for Anthropology lecturer, Oulu

If many of our colleagues send their application to this job offer, we may be able to get another Arctic anthropologist to our team. Please consider, it’s a great and rare opportunity.

The Faculty of Humanities of the University of Oulu publishes an open position of university lecturer in cultural anthropology as of 1 August 2018

Research at the Faculty of Humanities focuses on the theme of Understanding humans in change. The applicant’s research interests should coincide with this theme. In the past few years, the research activities of cultural anthropology have focused on the following themes: environmental anthropology (such as mining and climate change, particularly in northern and Arctic areas), political anthropology (such as environmental conflicts, epistemic struggles, and colonialism), multispecies ethnography (such as human-animal relations) and ethnohistory (especially histories of the Indigenous peoples of North America and the Saamis). In addition to the themes listed above, the program of cultural anthropology is interested in promoting its teaching and research in linguistic anthropology, medical anthropology and anthropology of technology, but experts in other subfields are also encouraged to apply.

resource development versus other community sustainability options’?

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.

Offshore oil (see the servicing ships docking in the background) or other development options? St John’s and Newfoundland

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)>, Prof Gordon Cooke <gcooke(at)> (cc to Thematic Network coordinator Florian Stammler <fstammle(at)>)