2014 Spring

Visiting speakers

In colloboration with the Department of Anthropology, Arctic Domus sponsored four seminars by distinguished speakers or by members of the project on research themes related to the project. The talks were held on Thursdays in room F61 Edward Wright Building from 15.00-17.00 unless otherwise noted.

24th April 2014 - Hiroki Takakura

 Hiroki Takakura

Hiroki Takakura is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University (Japan). He visited the Department of Anthropology between 22-26 April and shared his research experience with colleagues at the University of Aberdeen during informal discussions.

He gave a formal talk Horses as objects of carnivorous pastoralism. Multiple usage of species as an ecological adaptation in Siberia on the 24th of April.


The human-animal relationship in the subsistence is not fixed but flexible to environmental and societal constraints. This lecture deals with the human adaptation through the cultural historical perspectives, focusing on the case of Sakha people in Siberia. The ethnic origin rooted in the region of the Baikal region in South Siberia and then moved toward the North. Through the historical migration, five species livestock husbandry typically seen in the steppe pastoralism had changed to the horse-cattle breeding in the subarctic condition. Correspondingly, the multiple usages on single species appeared in the breeding of horse. I describe their horse husbandry and compare it with the reindeer one of the Eveny as a neighboring ethnic group, which will show how the similar ecological setting forms the similar human-animal relations regardless the different historical background. Taking the biological feature of each animal into account, I consider the capacity of human adaptation in the North.


6th February 2014 - Ivar Bjorklund

Location: The Mission, St. Machar Drive Old Aberdeen, AB24 3RX


Ivar Bjorklund is a cultural anthropologist from the Arctic Univesity of Norway, Tromso. The title of his talk is Ideologies and ownership – assimilation by management of fish and reindeer.  


Relations between humans and fish/animals are not only constituted by ecology and technology. It is a well known observation that also ideologies influence these relations. The ideological constructed transformation from household based pastoralism to kolkhoz-organized herding in the Soviet Union illustrates this point. Such changing value regimes also leads to recodification of the resource base, i.e. defining new kinds of ownership. The presentation is about how the development of a corporative society and a social-democratic ideology in Norway turned Sami resources like salmon and cod into Norwegian ownership while  reindeer herding was considered an ethnofied resource and left to the Sami pastoralists. Thus the coastal Sami lost the possibilty of self representation and self understanding through their own management of these species. It was not until the modernization ideology of the 1970-80's that also reindeer became subject to Norwegian control and a part of the general corporative economy and thus instrumental in a general assimilation process. Consequently, the reindeer herding Sami are in danger of losing the way they understand and present themselves; people in deep and profound relationships with the reindeer.