Fieldwork story Stammler 2: Yamal, hunting for petrol and a wild reindeer

A story about my failed attempt of shooting a wild reindeer, and of a successful hunt for petrol

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Yarkolana (Nikolay) Khorotetto, spring 2001

This story is dedicated to my friend Yarkolana (Nikolay) Khorotetto, who was tragically found dead (link in Russian) in the tundra, probably killed just after my birthday in 2019. This story takes us 20 years back, to my journey in spring 2001 with young Yarkolana and Dennis to Ostrov Belyi, White Island in the Arctic Ocean. We were all unexperienced and adventurous, did not know how to honour the spirits on Yamal KheKhe, the most sacred site in the entire region. Almost we were punished for this, but only almost. It’s a story of a steep learning curve, of immediate Soviet heritage, and of the hunger for intellectual food in the tundra.

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Dennis and Florian in a hunter’s container on white Island on the southern shore
Yap-Stepan bookOB
It turned out we were not the only ones in the abandoned village. For Stepan Yaptik the library was a top destination too: the books that we took along travelled later throughout the different camps of the tundra

 

 

 

Fieldwork story Stammler 1: Yamal, participation over observation is a health risk


participation over observation is a health risk

This was my first cold night ever in a chum in the Yamal tundra. It’s a story of ‘lesson learned’ early on in my fieldwork practice, that you need not only to be keen to participate in people’s life, but also be a good observer for the details. The price I had to pay for this in the end was a fever:(

Here are some photos from that day

after a sleepless night, with high temperature, I still couldn’t hold back and had to participate in the slaughter
He was the guy with whom I swapped the sleeping bag for a yagushka at night. In the rain he was wearing a parka made of Darnit, the material which you use for road construction between the pebbles and the sand.

 

 

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From the trading post Portsy Yakha to the camp site we needed to cross the river
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after a sleepless night, with high temperature, I still couldn’t hold back and had to participate in the slaughter
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He was the guy with whom I swapped the sleeping bag for a yagushka at night. In the rain he was wearing a parka made of Darnit, the material which you use for road construction between the pebbles and the sand.

 

 

“CCC” – corona, climate change and conspiracy in the Yamal tundra

I have been doing fieldwork with Yamal Nenets reindeer herders for more than 20 years now, and have noticed this year a change in their perception of the changes happening around them, maybe partially reinforced by corona virus.

Be it industrial expansion, the icing-over of pastures, outbreaks of diseases, methane holes in the tundra, the change of a political regime or other disasters – they have always given me the impression of incredible self-confidence that whatever comes, these tough enthusiastic nomadic reindeer herders will manage to face the challenge and continue their life. Continue reading ““CCC” – corona, climate change and conspiracy in the Yamal tundra”

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

Louis Apol, the painter of Novaya Zemlya

Since my very first visit to the Netherlands, I have been surprised at the interest of Dutch people in one of the islands in the North of Russia, which they call Nova Zembla, from the Russian name Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”).

This topic of Novaya Zemlya drew attention since the time of the first Dutch explorer of the Arctic – Willem Barentsz, who died there in 1597. After him, this route was never followed by any of his countrymen. However, at the end of the XIX century, there was an expedition on the Dutch schooner Willem Barentsz to Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean. This trip was well organized and well equipped. For better documenting the polar landscape, it was accompanied by a Dutch artist Louis Apol (1850-1936). Continue reading “Louis Apol, the painter of Novaya Zemlya”

Gender in the Arctic at ASSW 2020

Our colleagues organise an interesting workshop during the Arctic Science Summit Week in Akureyri. If you go there anyway, this is surely worth checking out:

We would like to invite you to the 2-days gender-workshop during ASSW 2020 where natural sciences and social sciences share their experiences.

IASC & IASSA Workshop Gender in Polar Research –
Gendered field work conditions, epistemologies and legacies

Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) in Akureyri, Iceland
29–30 March 2020
Room #102
See the multi-faceted, exciting program via this link.

Please, do not hesitate to drop in any time, in case you do not have time to follow the full program.
We have prepared talks, arts and interactive elements and welcome you, in particular, to share in the afternoon your knowledge and experience in break out groups and the “walk of ideas”.

Short DESCRIPTION:
We welcome all participants of the Arctic Science Summit Week 2020 to a cross-disciplinary workshop to discuss and reflect on the gendered nature of Polar research.
The workshop will combine three strands of debate that have thus far not been discussed systematically:

  1. Doing science in the 21st century in a way that departs from but also pays careful attention to the history of exploration and colonial endeavours as “heroic” and masculine activities – while a masculine image still seems to dominate the methodologies and practices of Arctic and Polar research.
  2. The still existing gender gap when it comes to female researchers in hard sciences, their career prospects, and their sometimes difficult working conditions as women in the field. Critiques of the gender gap and gendered research work have thus far neglected the diversity aspects of queer and gender minority (LGBTQI) researchers. They face particular challenges while working in a still largely heteronormative research environment as it is described for research stations, vessels or tundra/taiga camps.
  3. The gendered composition of researchers as actors and the gendered spaces of conducting research, including the field sites, have an important impact on research interests, research design, research ethics and epistemology. The gender bias affects the research subject and methodology, and Polar research can learn from and communicate with other fields of science about how to ensure a high standard of equality, sensitivity to issues of marginalization, and ethical production of science.

LONG DESCRIPTION: https://gender-arctic.jimdofree.com/

The workshop is financially supported by IASC and organised by members of the “Gender in the Arctic” Working Group of IASSA.

With best regards and looking forward to you in Akureyri,
The organisers
Gertrude Saxinger, IASC SHWG, IASSA
J. Otto Habeck, IAS SHWG, IASSA
Stephan Dudeck, IASSA
Katariina Kyrölä, IASSA

IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic
https://gender-arctic.jimdofree.com/