Event Details

Arctic Domus team members to participate in EASA2018 conference, Stockholm

Arctic Domus team members to participate in EASA2018 conference, Stockholm
14 - 17 August 2018

Arctic Domus team members are participating in the biennial European Association of Social Anthropologists conference in Sotckholm from 14-17 August 2018. This year's conference theme is "Staying, Moving, Settling". Team members are co-convening and presenting papers in a range of panels on their research on topics including human-animal relations, memory, extinction, and damaged landscapes.

Full details of the panels and papers are listed and linked below:


Panel Title: P003 Tilting the globe: creativity, transition and stasis in the Circumpolar North

Date and Start Time: 14 Aug, 2018 at 10:30, 2 Sessions
Location: Room 29

Paper Title: Movement of Song and Dance Across a National Border: The Story of the Hän Songs
Author: Tamara Ranspot (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: In 1903, the traditional territory of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation was bisected by the imposition of a national border. Rather than a disruption of movement, this paper focusses on how Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in leadership facilitated and continue to engage with the flow of creative musical practices.

Long abstract: Over a century ago, the traditional territory of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation of Yukon, Canada was bisected by the imposition of the Canadian-American border. Such colonial encounters are often discussed with reference to the disruption of traditional patterns of movement and the alienation from kin, now on the other side of a national boundary. This paper will take an alternative approach, focussing instead on how Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in leadership facilitated, and continue to engage with, the flow of creative practices across the vast North American Arctic and sub-Arctic. It analyses the story of Isaac, Chief during the early 20th century. Seeing the impact the border and other colonial policies were having on his people, he chose to take the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in songs and dances across to their newly-American kin, depositing them there for safekeeping until such a time as they could safely return home. The songs and dances began to be slowly returned in the early 1990s, spurred by a burgeoning movement for linguistic revitalization amongst the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in. This movement of creative practices in and out of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in community remains an active process to this day. The contemporary return of songs and dances is a complicated, incomplete, and ongoing process — a process which this paper takes as a point of focus to examine how resilient communities find creative ways of encouraging movement in the face of seemingly impenetrable obstacles.


Panel Title: P019 Liveability in a time of ecological destruction [Humans and Other Living Beings Network]

Date and Start Time: 15 Aug, 2018 at 09:00, 2 Sessions
Location: Room 23

Convenors:  Sara Asu Schroer (University of Aberdeen) and Charlotte Marchina (IIAS)

Discussant: Marianne E. Lien (University of Oslo)

Short abstract: This panel centres on the notion of liveability in a time in which human activity on the planet has had large-scale destructive influence on ecologies and the myriad more-than-human lifeworlds that constitute them.

Long abstract: This panel centres on the notion of liveability in a time in which human activity on the planet has had large-scale destructive influence on ecologies and the myriad more-than-human lifeworlds that constitute them. We are interested in exploring how people imagine liveable ecologies. How is their sense of belonging and responsibility shaped by the experience of ecological destruction and loss? What actions do they take? What hopes, visions and expectations do they have for the future? How do these clash with what is possible and what has already been lost (e.g. in community projects, environmental activism, rewilding or de-extinction initiatives)? We are particularly interested in approaches that seek to move environmental anthropology 'beyond the human' by opening analysis up to nonhuman beings as active participants in shared social worlds. How is human and nonhuman wellbeing interconnected? What can be gained from attuning to more-than-human temporalities and materials when addressing questions of liveability and ecological ethics? The questions this panel raises can be explored through different ethnographic contexts and narratives be it for instance in relation to rural communities, urban ecological activists, laboratory scientists or ecologists. We invite contributions from anthropology but also from other disciplines such as human geography, history of science, science and technology studies or archaeology.

Paper Title: An Ethnoecology of Submerged Life

Author: David Anderson (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: This paper examines the active role that sub-surface forms of life play in the lives of laboratory scientists and circumpolar hunters. The paper will focus on the woolly mammoth thought to be extinct but who is thought to swim underground for Evenki and Dolgan hunters and reindeer herders.

Long abstract: For many circumpolar Arctic peoples, life on the Earth's surface represents only one livable ecology. This paper examines the active role that sub-surface or perhaps non-tangible forms of life play in the lives of terrestrial peoples today. The paper will focus on the case of the "woolly mammoth" - or _khele_ - thought to be extinct according to traditional urban zoologists but who is thought to swim underground for Evenki and Dolgan hunters and reindeer herders. The paper will describe the encounters that hunters have had with the khele, and the folklore surrounding it. It will compare Evenki and Dolgan ways of interacting with this more-than-human lifeworld to recent proposals to retro-breed the mammoth by genetically splicing frozen gametes with contemporary elephant stock. The paper will argue that the making of tangible life, which technologies of de-extinction promise, is not necessarily the same as recreating an evocative an liveable world.

Paper Title: (De)-extinction and the precarity of life in the Anthropocene

Author: Sara Asu Schroer (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: Based on an initial exploration of species (de)-extinction, exemplified through the historical trajectory of the peregrine falcon, this paper raises the question of liveability and what it means for a species to flourish in the Anthropocene.

Long abstract: This paper presents an initial exploration into questions of species (de)-extinction, exemplified through the historical trajectory of the peregrine falcon. This takes us from a time of near extinction of the species, to its status as a key-stone species in conservation. Triggered by near extinction of many raptor species due to the use of pesticides in industrial agriculture it was growing concern of the species' survival in the wild that led to the emergence of captive breeding and domestication. Once bred in captivity birds were released back into the wild, with methods such as hacking and radio tracking being used to ensure their survival. Through complicating straightforward boundary drawing between categories of the wild and domestic, the cultural and the ecological, this paper raises questions surrounding liveability and what it means for a species to flourish in the Anthropocene, characterised by supposedly dissolving boundaries between nature and culture.


Panel Title: P027 Lines on the land: mobility and stasis in northern extractive landscapes

Date and Start Time: 17 Aug, 2018 at 09:00, 2 Sessions
Location: Room 18

Convenors: Jan Peter Laurens Loovers (University of Aberdeen), Nuccio Mazzullo (University of Lapland), Tara Joly (University of Saskatchewan)

Chair: Robert Wishart (University of Aberdeen)

Discussant: David G. Anderson (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: This panel explores a multitude of lines in the North: e.g. seismic cutlines, pipelines, borders and fences, roads and railways, traplines. We want to address what such lines, often related to resource extraction, entail for Northerners (with emphasis on Indigenous people) and Arctic environment.

Long abstract: Northern and Arctic landscapes are commonly thought to be rural, pristine, and far from the dislocations of the global economy. In fact the Arctic has for over three hundred years been a resource frontier for metropolitan economies providing fur, oil, medicinal products and now hydrocarbons, uranium and heavy metals. This panel explores how local northerners, with a special emphasis on indigenous peoples, build their lives around the ecofacts of extractive industries. One of the profound effects of extractive expansion are the grids and boundaries that allow the movement of governmental, geological and mining machinery/laboratories or forbid access to places of natural or commercial interest. The panel invites papers on the "traplines" that northerners registered to broadcast and protect their tenure of sentient landscapes; the petrochemical seismic "cutlines" that criss-cross the North; the roads and rails of development that connect South and North; or the ethnohistories of parks, parcels, or areas of traditional-nature use. Following Anna Tsing (2015), Ann Laura Stoler (2016), and Donna Haraway (2016), the panel will query how disturbed or "ruined" landscapes can afford novel or unexpected relationships with the environment. It will also examine the difficult relations between lines that allow access and those that restrict access in places of massive appropriation of traditional lands.

Paper Title: Lines of Procurement: Marking Movement and Resources in Northern Canada

Author: Jan Peter Laurens Loovers (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: This paper addresses a variety of lines of procurement and situate this in broader themes of land tenure, resource extraction, well-being, and ecological alternations.

Long abstract: In this paper I touch on Gwich'in (Indigenous people in northern Canada) and non-Gwich'in movements on the land in relation with broader global markets. Throughout the Canadian Arctic the land has been demarcated with a variety of lines: seismic lines, traplines, roads and trails, and (caribou) fences. These lines of particular movements have been incorporated and contested in the Canadian North, and challenges "Settler State" notions of land tenure, resource extraction, ecological degradation, and Arctic domestication. The presentation will further touch on the video-documenting of a fish-wheel [to catch salmon], and relate this to questions of revitalizing traditional skills, the importance of dogs in the North, and the connection between Indigenous people, animals, the land, climate change, and well-being.

Paper Title: Axis and Borders: patterns of spatial organization of herding and hunting in Northern Landscapes

Authors: Konstantin Klokov (Saint-Petersburg State University), Vladimir Davydov (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera))

Short abstract: Do the lines on the earth point the direction to move, or are they boundaries restricting movements? The authors' field studies discuss the paradoxical character of the perception of space by different groups of northern population and by animals living in the symbiotic relationship with people.

Long abstract: According to the fundamental Tim Ingold's idea on two various patterns of perception of the environment, northern pastoralists, perceive space as a point-axial structure. By contrast, representatives of Western culture perceive the land as a number of plots divided by boundaries. The authors' field studies discuss the paradoxical and ambiguous character of the perception of space by different groups of northern population.

Thus, fences can either continue natural landscape boundaries, or in opposite, artificially dissect the natural landscape into separate parts depending on different types of reindeer husbandry. Lines of traps can follow rivers or watersheds or, on the contrary, cross them.

The industrial infrastructure transforms living landscapes of reindeer herders and forces them to adapt to new spatial patterns. Infrastructure objects can be interpreted in different mental contexts, which change their role in the life of pastoralists. Depending on the context, they can play for herders the role of the axes, as well as the borders. The role of infrastructure lines depends not only on the mentality of people, but also on the cognitive abilities of animals living in the symbiotic relationship with people. Thus, due to the peculiarities of reindeer herd's behavior a pipeline raised above the ground on the poles ceases to be an obstacle for the movements of individual animals, but works this way for the reindeer herd. Therefore, a herd grazing nearby a pipeline can be easily dissipated.

In this sense, infrastructure reshapes the physical space and changes patterns of both humans' and animals' movements.

Paper Title: 'I think because of the highway there is no caribou sometimes': Changing hunting practices along the Dempster Highway

Author: Erin Consiglio (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: The Dempster Highway has provided access to caribou hunters from all over the Yukon, however, some Gwitchin elders claim they are not following traditional rules of respect. Development proposals in the area include new access roads, leading to a request for better monitoring of hunters.

Long abstract: The Vuntut Gwitchin of the northern Yukon have relied on the Porcupine Caribou Herd for generations; today, the herd is vulnerable to oil development in their calving grounds on the coastal plain in Alaska, and in their winter range around the Eagle Plains region of the Yukon. Oil exploration in Eagle Plains has already resulted in a network of roads and seismic lines, and Chance Oil and Gas has applied for additional permits to expand their exploration in the area. Migrating caribou have been known to travel along roads and follow seismic lines as these flat, open areas allow for faster and easier movement. However, roads allow easier access to hunters as well, who are able to travel further and carry more. This increases hunting pressure on the herd, and has also changed the way people hunt. Since the opening of the Dempster Highway, there have been complaints about incidents of 'disrespectful' hunting, including hunters leaving parts of the caribou behind or taking more than they need; if hunters are disrespectful, the caribou might not return. The development proposal for Eagle Plains includes plans for six new access roads from the Dempster Highway, and there is some concern about how to prevent these problems on the new roads. This paper will examine some of the ways that roads have changed traditional hunting practices in Vuntut Gwitchin Traditional Territory, and some of the solutions Gwitchin have suggested for enforcing hunting regulations on roads, including hiring more local wildlife monitors.

Paper Title: 'They go to the reservoir now': Changing geese migration in Wemindji, Northern Quebec

Author: Gioia Barnbrook (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract:  Hydro-electric development in Northern Quebec is impacting on the lines of travel taken by migrating geese. This paper describes how some Cree hunters are responding to these changing flight paths, discussing how not only terrestrial but also aerial lines are affected by hydroelectric development.

Long abstract: The vast network of dams, pylons and roads that support the James Bay hydroelectric project in north-western Quebec cuts across land that has been the territory of James Bay Cree for millennia. This land supports a wide variety of animals that are important for the Cree, but of particular significance for coastal communities are the thousands of migrating geese that use this coast as a flyway each spring, and that have been a crucial source of meat for communities. Since the construction of the hydroelectric dam, local communities have seen significant changes to the migration patterns of geese. Comparatively few geese travel down the coast now, with many instead choosing to flying over the hydroelectric project's vast reservoirs, their flight lines in many ways mirroring the physical infrastructure far below them. In response to these changing flight patterns, hunters are changing their own travel locations and routes, moving their goose camps in order to continue to "meet" the geese on their way north. Many hunters now travel south, on the very roads created during the construction of the hydroelectric dam, for more reliable hunting opportunities. This paper will discuss the changing travel-lines of both people and geese in this region, with particular reference to conceptions of animal decision-making and perception. Arguing that our discussion of lines should be expanded beyond the terrestrial to include the aerial, this paper offers an ethnographic example of the significant changes the criss-crossing infrastructure of hydroelectric development can bring.

Paper Title: Modern land use and economy of forest Nenets in the zone of industrial development

Author: Elena Volzhanina (Institute of the problems of the Northern development SB RAS)

Short abstract: The presentation raises questions of traditional land use and economy of forest Nenetses known as Vyngapur Nenetses, whose hunting and fishing territories and nomadic routes, are in the zone of industrial development.

Long abstract: This research is focused primarily on the small local group of Nenetses from the Pur forest. The territory inhabited by the Vyngapur Nenetses was one of the first in the Iamal-Nenets District to attract oil and gas development companies in 1970's. At present, there are many towns in the region dedicated to Oil and Gas extraction where shift workers have settled. The region is divided into east and west parts by the Surgut railway - Novyi Urengoi. All of Vyngapur Nenetses are fishermen and reindeer-herders. Today, the Vyngapur Nenetses have a settled and semi-nomadic way of life. Employment in the agricultural sector and the possession of reindeer herds has had the effect of conserving some of their traditional camps. However, some of families lost their reindeer herding skills including the construction of traditional dwellings (especially the winter chum). These new phenomena have shortened the nomadic routes and people now stay in the same camp for a long time (20 and more years) and build cabins and various other non-mobile dwellings. This type of settlement was not typical for Nenets camps in the past when the only permanent dwellings would have been the accommodation trailers left behind by geological survey parties and expeditions The present land use and economy of the Vyngapur Nenetses is the result of the local group's adaptation to the changing ecological, social, economic and ethnic conditions brought about by the influence of industrial development in the last third of the 20th and in the 21st centuries.


Panel Title: P043 Temporalities of the Past: Moments, Memories, and Futures in the Making
Date and Start Time: 16 Aug, 2018 at 09:00, 2 Sessions
Location: Room 30

Paper Title: 'True Island Type Ponies': The Role of the Past in Contemporary Shetland Pony Breeding

Author: Catherine Munro (University of Aberdeen)

Short abstract: In this paper I argue that the past is a living, adaptable part of the present in relationships between humans, animals and landscapes in Shetland.

Long abstract: In this paper I argue that the past is a living, adaptable part of the present in relationships between humans, animals and landscapes in Shetland.

Throughout Shetland's history, crofters are believed to have survived great hardship through their clever adaptations to a challenging environment. Shetland ponies played an active role in the survival of these households. The shared lives, and shared characteristics, of humans and animals are directly linked to contemporary ideas of home and belonging.

Changes to economic and agricultural practices have fundamentally altered land use, rendering obsolete many of the roles the breed traditionally performed. Shetland ponies are now more commonly recognized as a pet rather than a working animal. Pony breeders in Shetland are concerned that increasingly human dominated practice, and separation from the landscapes in which they evolved, puts at risk historic breed qualities of intelligence and independence.

Working with ponies in a way that maintains historic characteristics and connections with Shetland's landscapes is considered the right way to live, for both humans and equines, and is frequently contrasted with life in mainland UK.

Pony breeders are not seeking to recreate a static idea of the past, but rather keep alive elements of the past considered central to a sense of belonging and identity in Shetland.

With much in the future uncertain, preserving and cultivating healthy sustainable relationships with landscapes and animals, and adapting them where necessary, is believed to be essential to the continuation of life on the islands.


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