Anthropology Conference 2023
1) Fluid Realities of the Wild in Human-Animal Relations

Florian Stammler, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland,
Nuccio Mazzullo, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
Lukas Allemann, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland

Panel description:
Many of the people with whom anthropologists have worked traditionally practice livelihoods dependent on animals, especially in harsh environments where cultivating plants is not possible. Correspondingly, human-animal relations has been a field of anthropological enquiry where insights from the Arctic have resonated well beyond the circumpolar world. Entire societal typologies have been conceptualised according to specific sets of relations between people and their animals, such as hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, ranchers. More recent studies have challenged such generalisations and come up with alternative theoretical concepts such as the hunting-herding continuum (Layton et al), the gradients of familiarity between humans and animals (Takakura), symbiotic domesticity (Stammler and Beach), architectures of domestication (Anderson et al), or intermittent coexistence (Stépanoff et al). Along this line of enquiry, this session proposes as a next step to revisit the category of the wild and of the domestic in human-animal relations. This session invites papers with a focus on the relativity of such categories. Papers are encouraged specifically about ethnographic evidence of the 'wild' in relations of people and animals that are usually considered domestic, and vice-versa, notions of 'domesticness' in relations with animals that are usually considered wild. Such 'borderline notions' invite us also to revisit our ideas about domestication as an ongoing process, and relations of anthropological, biological, archaeological and genetic research on domestic, wild and hybrid animals. While some of the papers in this panel are going to draw on Arctic examples, we also specifically encourage contributions basing on other field sites and theoretical enquiries.

2) Affect in Sociality: Relational Dynamics in Motion

Kenneth Sillander
Ivan Tacey ( and
Isabell Herrmans (

Panel description:
This panel addresses relations through sociality, the active, processual, companion concept of relations, once glossed by Strathern as “the relational matrix that constitutes the life of persons,” and by Ingold as “the constitutive quality of relationships.” The aim of the panel is to explore affect in sociality: its forms and modes of expression in social contexts, its role in shaping the tenor and direction of interaction, and its significance in mediating the impact of lifeworld and larger world conditions on social relations. Affect is useful for studying sociality by sharing its focus on the emergent qualities of social life, those that arise in its concrete practice and the passing moments of its enactment. By adopting the framework of affect, we seek insights into the dynamic processes whereby actors relate to each other in ongoing sociality in motion.

Particular consideration is given to contexts of pronounced motion, such as contemporary political or economic change, environmental transformations in the Anthropocene, or processes of cultural reorientation. We especially welcome contributions which explore the dynamism of sociality through affect’s potentiating or debilitating qualities: how it encourages or inhibits agency, enchants or disenchants, unites or divides. However, panellists may explore any of the ways that sociality participants are moved by affect, which is understood broadly as sensorily transmitted and experienced formative influence, including tactile and embodied experiences and the moods and atmospheres of social events. Contributions may concern either state-peripheral small-scale societies, or large-scale modern state societies.

Panel open for submissions
3) Urban Corrosions: Why Matter Matters?

Soile Veijola
, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland (soile.veijola(at)
Teemu Loikkanen, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland
Monica Tennberg, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland

Panel description:
Stemming from Old French and Latin, the noun of action of the word “corrosion” –  corrodere in Latin – means “to gnaw to bits, wear away” ( Today, corrosion commonly refers to a natural process or a conversion whereby materials such as a metal are gradually deteriorated by a chemical or electrochemical reaction. Thus, corrosion is an act, a process, and a reactive relation of a process with its material environment.

The notion of urban corrosions is used metaphorically as a contestable ideology and policy of urban planning as well as the manifestation of the latter in everyday experience. When it comes to infrastructures, cycles, and processes linked with architecture, public decision-making, and urban planning, corroding (or even corrupting) tendencies are increasingly over-ruling deliberate promoting of common good for and through multispecies co-existence. Corroded aspects of urban development affect and can harm local landmarks and sites that materialise transgenerational attachments and engagement. When lost, historical landscapes, architectural forms, and biotic substance, are often beyond repair or restoration.

The panel will move in-between indoors and outdoors whilst attempting to illustrate how planning processes could become corrigible and corroborating ones. How can processes correct, amend, and even redirect themselves in order to prevent regrettable decisions and reactive relationalities? How can planning be a vehicle of restorative growth of the experienced, lived, shared, and known?

The panel welcomes submissions of academic and/or artistic presentations exploring imaginative ways to invigorate, strengthen, and support urban living by respecting past, current and future relationalities in building, repairing, and dwelling.

4) Relationships and Resilience

John P. Ziker, Boise State University (,
Elspeth Ready (

Panel description:
Resilience is the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb or withstand perturbations and stressors while maintaining stability through typical adaptive cycles – phases of growth, conservation, release, and reorganization in a system (Holling 1973, Gunderson & Holling 2002, Walker et al. 2004). Connectedness and potential are the two dimensions in Hollings’ model of adaptive cycles. Much research in anthropology is relevant for understanding connectedness and potential, and thus, such work is relevant for understanding socio-ecological resilience in environments that are experiencing perturbations such as rapid climate change, industrial development, or both. Where resilience is low, a system can be pushed into an entirely new configuration, and this impacts lives and livelihoods. Connectedness is about the intensity of relationships and interdependencies, while potential can include wealth, skills, values, and processes of cultural reproduction within and between communities. Connectedness and potential can involve both human cooperative networks and human/non-human relationships.

In this session, papers might explore one or both of these dimensions and focus on human networks or human/non-human relationships. We invite papers approaching these topics from a variety of perspectives, including qualitative and quantitative studies as well as explorations (and critiques) of the concept of resilience. We are particularly interested in papers exploring resilience in rapidly changing environments, whether these changes are social, economic, and/or ecological.

Panel open for submissions!

5) Sacred Sites in the Anthropocene

Francis Joy (
Thora Hermmann

Panel description:
This panel is convened by the Sacred Sites Research Group, a consortium of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and rightsholders representing different cultural and disciplinary perspectives on places that have spiritual significance. Consortium members will give presentations on the challenges of protecting cultural heritage and living traditions in a multitude of contexts and cultures, focussing on questions such as: What makes a place sacred? To whom is it sacred? Should these places be ‘protected’ and, if so, what legal status would they have? What is it that we actually ‘protect’? Who should exercise rights over them? What responsibilities would the wider community have towards them? How would any legal framework be generated? The panel aims to share and discuss current results of scientific work in the field of sacred sites, cultural heritage and regional policy. Provisional presentations are:

  • Recognizing Innu sacred natural sites as Aboriginal-led protected areas.
  • The Nenets sacred places: the singing mountain Yanganya Pe.
  • Climate change and underwater cultural heritage.
  • Sacred natural sites in the Arctic north, living memory, traditions, cultural heritage and their exploitation.
  • Sacred places as cultural ecologies: making space for the intangible.
  • Sacred sites, tourism and extractive industries.
  • How secret should spiritual knowledge be? Human-spirit relations in the Nenets tundra.
  • “To be or not to be”? Tourism development plans and voice of the river.
  • Indigenous customary laws concerning sacred sites or heritage sites.
  • Protecting sacred sites is a matter of justice. Philosophical remarks.
  • Sacred sites. Destruction or counter-hegemonic resistance?

Keywords: Sacred sites, protection, risks, vulnerabilities, cultural heritage, local traditions, sacred functions, tourism, assimilation, development

6) Beyond speech: toward a northern sensory ecology of animals, plants, and humans

Alex Oehler (,
Victoria Peemot (

Panel description:
This panel is based on the premise that animals, plants, and humans share an ancient history of nonverbal communication, and we seek to document such interactions as they are observed in day-to-day situations. For most Western thinkers, the human ability to speak and to express abstract thought separates people from animals and plants who are often considered inferior because of their different communication methods, which are largely imperceptible to (Western) humans. Rather than focusing on the communicative differences of humans and other beings, we explore our shared capacity for sensory nonverbal communication through a study of posture, gesture, scent, sound, and intuitive modes. Informed by northern Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences with animals and plants, we hope to learn more about the material and intangible heritages of multispecies collaborations in the North.

Panel open for submission


7) Minority Rights, Culture, and Anthropology

Livia Holden, Université Paris 1 Panthén-Sorbonne,
Reetta Toivanen, University of Helsinki,

Panel description:
What is the place of social and cultural anthropology in the field of human rights law and minority rights? Such concepts as culture, tradition, ethnicity, nation or race are core concepts of anthropological thinking and analysis. Simultaneously, they play an important role in international legislation on human rights, especially when lawyers deal with minority right issues. Thus, jurisprudence may legally entitle peoples to their cultures or may deny them the corresponding rights. As the concepts used in the courtrooms are never of a neutral origin, anthropologists are increasingly paying attention to the problems related to "struggles over cultural rights" and “expertise on cultural rights”. How can anthropology help us to engage and rethink the powerful of frameworks of human rights and to take the concept of equality seriously, as well as reconsidering its own core analytical constructs in the process? The workshop aims to take recent case law produced by the European Court of Human Rights and by the national courts in Europe as an empirical basis for conceptual and theoretical discussions. We encourage potential contributors to submit paper proposals (no longer that 250 words), tackling with questions of minority rights, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination, cultural experitise in courts and litigatigation and initiating an in-depth debate on the use of the above mentioned "core concepts" of anthropology and their possible consequences as they relate to the field of human rights and its practice today in the world and in particular in Europe.

8) Making “good relations” in more-than-human worlds

Panel organisers:
Dr Anna Krzywoszynska, University of Oulu,
Dr Agnese Bankovska, University of Helsinki,

Panel description:
Anthropology and sister disciplines have seen a growth in studies of more than human relations, that is, of the ways in which humans are meaningfully entangled with other living and non-living entities, from microbes to elements. Investigations of such relations often take on a special normative intensity, especially when set against the background of climate breakdown and other socio-ecological catastrophes. Consequently, more than human scholarship increasingly goes beyond just following and celebrating relations, but seeks to understand and even intervene in the logics and mechanisms of relationality: aiming to create better relations and so better relational futures for humans and more than humans alike. From ethnographic approaches, to collaboration with citizen scientists, artists and colleagues from the natural sciences, anthropologists and other social scientists are opening up a new arena of relational experimentation.

In this panel, we thus invite contributions which engage with the how and the why of ‘good’ relations in more-than-human-worlds, whether that be from theoretical or empirical entry points. This may include, but is not limited to, engagements with the following themes:

  • Theoretical and conceptual considerations on what are and what makes ‘good’ relations in more-than-human-worlds;
  • Critical investigation and/or application of theories of care, responsa-bility, meshwork, or other normative-relational thinking;
  • The use and reflection on new and established methods in creating ‘good’ more- than-human relations (for example artistic methods, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations, participatory action research, citizen science, and others);
  • The importance or role of exclusions, disconnection and disentanglements in the creation of ‘good’ relations;
  • The role of natural sciences in the normativity of more than human relations’ scholarship (including in inter- and trans-disciplinary projects)

Panel open for submissions.

9) Anthropologies of failure

Tiina Järvi, postdoctoral researcher, Tampere University,

Panel description:
Failure disturbs relations. Were it failures of relationships, failure to address impending crises, state failure, failures of infrastructure, failure to achieve one’s aspirations, or failure to initiate social or political change, failure interrupts and reconfigures the relations we have to our social and material surroundings. As Arjun Appadurai stresses, failure is always contextual and presents itself not as a fact but as a judgment, revealing the norms on what should be attained. There is a tendency to conceptualize failure as a possibility, as ‘a tool for being better’, as something ‘productive’, or as ‘a political resource’. However, failure nevertheless reveals agency as constrained by showing us the limits of what can be done and what can be achieved. Therefore, while failure surely can offer room for thinking and being otherwise, at times it can simply be crippling, incapacitating, and damaging. Moving beyond vitalist and affirmative perspectives on failure that consider it as productive and enabling, this panel invites papers that explore the negative effects of failure. Both papers that explore ways to theorize failure as well as papers that address failure in its diverse forms and in different ethnographic settings are welcomed.

The panel is open for submissions.

10) Approaches to psychedelics and altered states of consciousness in the contemporary world

Aila Mustamo,
Vesa-Pekka Herva,

Panel description:
Mind-altering substances and techniques have been used for various purposes in indigenous communities, counter-cultures and also in contemporary mainstream society. Psychedelic substances are usually defined as illegal drugs and the use of psychedelics takes place underground. During the last decades, medicalization has radically changed public representations of psychedelics. Due to promising results of clinical trials, they have been considered as promising therapeutic tools for various psychiatric conditions. There is also a growing interest in psychedelic experiences on other domains of society, for instance start-up culture where psychedelics are assumed to increase creativity and boost efficiency.

Relationality is an essential part of psychedelics and a growing interest in altered states of consciousness in general, which challenges social and cultural assumptions about reality. Psychedelic experiences can be lifechanging and transformative of social and environmental relationships. Indeed, psychedelics have even been regarded as a potential solution to the existential issues of modernity.

We invite substantial, theoretical or speculative papers on cultural, social, philosophical and political aspects of psychedelics but also more generally on the significance of mind-altering techniques and altered states of consciousness, such as mystical experiences or dreaming, in contemporary or historical communities.

11) Ethical Selves and Spiritual Others: Relations with the Beyond

Igor Mikeshin (,
Toomas Gross (

Panel description:
The focus of this panel is on relations between human selves and supernatural agents, spiritual beings, God or gods, energies, powers, etc. We are interested in how relations between worshippers, believers, and practitioners of various religions and spiritual practices with spiritual entities are mediated through ethical self-transformation (Keane 2016) and by the porousness of the self (Taylor 2007).

In different religions and spiritual practices, deities and spiritual beings are perceived as powers which influence the material world, and, conversely, can be influenced themselves by certain human actions. The latter may be achieved through pious behaviors, rituals, and spiritual practices that establish, break, maintain, and mediate relations between humans and supernatural entities. This panel focuses on the work that human selves do in these relations, approaching it as ethical self-transformation and/or a dynamic between the porous and buffered self, to use Taylor’s terms.

How are the relations between human selves and spiritual entities constructed through the ethical learning and unlearning processes (e.g., learning to sense spirits vs re-interpreting relations with supernatural agents) (Luhrmann 2020)? How do these entities construct or shape the ethical self? What are the practices, rituals, and behaviors that establish these relations? We invite papers that demonstrate the construction, transformation, and/or making of the self with the ethnographic examples of religious and spiritual groups, communities, and practices across different cultural contexts.

Panel open for submission

Possible confirmed speakers at the proposed panel Toomas Gross, Tea Virtanen, Timo Kaartinen, Igor Mikeshin, Sidney Castillo (online) — all University of Helsinki

12) (Un)relating and (un)learning with more-than-humans during ethnographic practice

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen,, University of Helsinki
Minna Opas, University of Turku

Panel description:
More-than-humans can affect ethnographers' experiences and research in diverse ways. Intentionally or unintentionally, animals, plants, microbes, and meteorological phenomena, among others, can impact the way researchers relate and are positioned among their interlocutors. Ancestral and spirit beings of various kinds may be considered to either welcome researchers or deny any engagements with them. This panel addresses the presence, knowledge, intentions, and actions of more-than-human beings as an important aspect of fieldwork and research at large. We are interested in accounts of interactions, dialogues, and engagements established with more-than-human actors as an integral part of co-production of knowledge and research practice. In what ways do more-than-humans enter research processes and how can they be taken into account methodologically? We welcome papers exploring more-than-human engagements in ethnographic practice and research design from different viewpoints. In particular, we are interested in papers focusing on ethnographers' embodied experiences and ways of accounting for more-than-humans, as well as human bodies’ limits to interact and communicate with more-than-humans and the impact these have on doing ethnography.

13) Phenomenal Relations

Matthew Wolf-Meyer,

Panel description:
What kinds of phenomena come into being through relational interactions? How might focusing on particular kinds of interactions unveil phenomena particular to a set of relations and relationality? In this panel, contributors are asked to consider how relational processes shape the existence, temporality, and endurance of phenomena. “Suffering” is such a phenomenal relation, in which experiences are coded in particular ways in relation to kin, health care providers, and other social relations; in the absence of these relations, does the phenomenon exist, or does its qualities change in substantial ways? Similarly, “desire” indexes an affective register that can be expressed between people; it can be uneven or unreciprocated, but it only occurs through a relational process. And “appetite” might exist as a phenomenon in relation to food, but become a different phenomenon altogether when that food is situated in a ritual or ceremonial context with family and friends.

Contributors are asked to contribute ethnographic studies of phenomena that exist through their relational processes, with particular attention to the conditions of a phenomena’s existence, the temporality and endurance of the phenomena within and outside a set of relations, the fragility of phenomena, and the cascading effects of phenomena. What kinds of new objects, processes, and states emerge through phenomenal relations and how do they bind individuals and communities together? Working through phenomenal relations provides a framework to reconceptualize emergence, particularly in relation to affect and the body, and how affect and the body create conditions for further emergences of phenomena.

Panel Open for Submissions

14) Politics of kinning and de-kinning: Conjunctions of kinship, care and the state

Katja Uusihakala, University researcher, Social and cultural anthropology, University of Helsinki,
Hanna Rask, PhD researcher, Social and cultural anthropology, University of Helsinki,
Anna Pivovarova, PhD researcher, Social and cultural anthropology, University of Helsinki,

Panel description:
This panel explores kinning, de-kinning and re-kinning – processes through which persons are brought into and removed from significant, kinned relationships, and by which kinship and the state are co-produced. Studying relationships between family and the state, the panel focuses particularly on care regimes and the role of documents in creating kinned, political subjectivities. In addition to kinning as an active practice creating relatedness, anthropologists have increasingly paid attention to state engagement in processes of de-kinning and re-kinning – the unmaking and remaking of relatedness. For example, in residential care or in adoptive kinship, children are de-kinned from their biological families to be receptive to re-kinning by the state or the adoptive family. Such examinations emphasize that kinship is not merely about connectedness and mutuality, but also constituted by acts of disconnection and rupture. The panel therefore highlights temporalities and ambivalences of relatedness: processes through which kinship accumulates and dissolves through time, and relational acts of nurture and neglect by which kin relations are constructed and confronted. By analyzing care practices, we inquire how state actors – e.g. social workers or medical personnel – participate in kinning and de-kinning through defining suitable kinship and proper citizenship, and ask how alternative conceptualizations of family and care might question such assumptions. Further, we especially invite papers exploring the role of documents in kinned subjectivity formation, examining, for example, how documents of kinship legitimize political belonging or access to resources and state welfare, or inquiring the particular kinds of materialities and temporalities that kinning by paper creates.

Panel is open for submissions

15) Anthropologies (of aging) through and beyond personhood

Christine Verbruggen (KU Leuven,,
Annette Leibing (Université de Montréal,, and
Jessica Robbins (Wayne State University,

Panel description:
Personhood is arguably the most important category in aging and, more generally, disability studies, due to the often-contested full humanness of neurodivergent, but also older individuals in general. Many times articulated as an essence in need of being rescued through humanistic practices of care, personhood gets rarely questioned. However, hegemonic ideals of personhood have concrete and situated effects on life worlds of older adults. Age friendly communities, public funding models, and care ideologies are likely to naturalize personhood, and its modernist ideals of boundedness, independence, and essential humanity, while marginalizing other practices, experiences, and futures.

More critical scholars have in recent years challenged personhood as a unit of policy, care, and research on (older) bodies. This has often implied extending the scope of actants that constitute aging bodies to include the more-than-human and historicizing, hybridizing, or queering personhood - sometimes transcending, but sometimes also replicating underlying humanistic concerns of older models. Moving beyond personhood has also urged scholars to revisit the relations between selves, others, power, and (im)materialities, to question which relations matter more than others, and what a relation does.

This panel gathers contributions that flesh out different argumentative pathways about ideals that guide such discussions, by engaging with key texts and practices of “doing personhood,” but also by showing how personhood is situated and what the impact of personhood models is in concrete landscapes of care. Of particular interest are contributions that conceptualize relationality as a central concern in (ethnographic) research on and beyond personhood.

Open for paper submissions with confirmed speakers

Confirmed speakers:

  • Jessica Robbins
  • Christine Verbruggen
  • Annette Leibing, Barbara Costa Rossin, Shvat Eilat and Cynthia Lazzaroni
  • Nicholas Jenkins


  • Matthew Wolf-Meyer
16) Affects in relations

Tiina Suopajärvi, European Ethnology, University of Turku,
Pia Olsson, European Ethnology, University of Helsinki,

Panel description:
The affective turn in cultural studies means, for example, considering how affects participate in the construction of relations, especially of others and us. Emotions, like hate or love, make us move towards or away from someone/something. In these movements, we leave impressions on each other and through these impressions, our collective body starts to formulate, but simultaneously other bodies come into being. These bodies can be composed around gender, race, ethnicity, class, and/or socio-economic positions and beyond. (Ahmed 2014.) During the last decade, anthropologists have started to consider the meanings of emotions in both ethnographic fieldwork and analysis (Beatty 2010; Skoggard and Waterston 2015). Our panel invites researchers to discuss how to think with affects in our studies, and what this thinking means in the ethnographic knowledge making. (How) do we know differently about the social, socio-material and more-than-human relations when we focus on affects and especially on what they do, in our fieldwork, in our collaborations, in our analysis, in our writings, or in our teaching? Further, we are interested in discussion on if affects can take us beyond the hierarchical, dichotomous idea of others and us. Do affects have transformative power; can they become an agent of activism? This panel is open for submissions on ontological, theoretical, methodological, empirical and activist discussions on affects in anthropological and other ethnographic fields of studies.

17) Naturecultural communities

Mikko Äijälä, University of Lapland, 
Jarno Valkonen, University of Lapland,

Panel description:
The naturecultural communities panel is centred around the multidisciplinary naturecultural research. The notion of naturecultures has been developed in the fields of environmental humanities and social sciences to emphasise the inherent messiness of the lived world and the inseparability of social and biophysical elements. Naturecultural approach commences from the premise that humans do not merely dwell in this world only with others of their kind but, instead, live and breathe together also with innumerable forms of non-human beings. It underlines that what is seemingly ‘natural’ is always simultaneously ‘cultural’ and vice versa. Thus, the naturecultural approach provides a relational perception of the world where humans and all sorts of non-humans inhabit the same earth and ‘continually create conditions for each other’s existence’, as Tim Ingold argues. The naturecultural communities are always based on shared knowledge, practices and ultimately culture.

The panel aims to provide a scientific forum to present and promote the use of naturecultural approach in the field of human-non-human-environment relationality research. The panel welcomes theoretical and empirical presentations that examine e.g human-animal relations, infrastructural being, multispecies practices, dwelling or ontological politics in various practical contexts.

The panel is open for submission

18) Intimate Relations in the Context of (Im)Mobility and Migration

PhD candidate Suvi Lensu (University of Edinburgh & Aarhus University, and
PhD candidate Saara Toukolehto (University of Groningen,

Panel description:
In the increasingly mobile world, human encounters are often described as fast-paced and hasty. While intimacy is associated with familiarity and closeness, it is surprising how inherently it defines mobility and vice versa. Where intimate relationships mobilise people across borders and boundaries, mobility forces people to intimately connect with places and cultures foreign to them. The themes of intimacy and relationality have in particular featured in studies of migrant families and diasporic communities as well as in studies of care and bodywork conducted by migrant workers. More recently, social policy designs have approached female migrants’ intimate relations as a domain of power when seeking entry into the migrant home. In the era of epidemics, contagiousness can be considered a lens for inspecting how social phenomena are transmitted within intimate relations, even across large geographical distances and over generations. Thus, through the concept of intimacy the effects of mobility and ‘migrantness’ can be seen to impact also those who have remained relatively immobile. Open to pre-, during and post-corona case studies, we are interested in exploring the relationship between movement and closeness through the following (but not limited) questions. How are intimacy and mobility (re)formed in relation to one another or in the absence of the other? What is the role of gendered social reproductive labour as a nominator when navigating intimate and mobile domains? How to conceptualize intimacy in relation to notions of contagion and contamination often associated with categories of foreignness and mobility in popular discourse?

19) What is climate-related? Local perceptions of causality, change and crisis

Timo Kallinen Professor of Comparative Religion School of Theology / Philosophical Faculty Joensuu campus / University of Eastern Finland,
Jenni Mölkänen Postdoctoral researcher Climate crisis and religious change in sub-Saharan Africa School of Theology / Philosophical Faculty Joensuu campus / University of Eastern,  

Panel description:
There exists a relative consensus in both scientific and public discourses on the connection between global anthropogenic climate change and natural disasters. Consequently, when local level environmental crises are characterised as “climate-related”, a global-to-local causal route is often implicitly suggested. Recently, such straightforward relationships between global causes and local effects have been questioned. As proposed by Adam Branch (2018: 313), among others, by taking the local experiences of environmental crises as the starting point we are better equipped to understand “the dense local, national, regional, and global forces, both natural and social, that congeal at particular points to cause widespread destruction or suffering through the environment”. For instance, the question whether a particular natural disaster results from global warming might not be very significant for its victims who actually live with its negative effects, and there might be little reason for them to compartmentalize it from other hardships they encounter. Adopting such a locally oriented view does not merely complicate one-dimensional global-local relations. It also suggests longer multilinear histories for the crises and blur clearcut distinctions between socio_cultural and natural causes of the calamities. Furthermore, local etiologies of natural disasters might relate them with phenomena, such as God or nature deities, which fall outside the purview of conventional climate science. The panel invites papers that explore ethnographically the local perceptions and conceptualizations of environmental destruction and extreme weather events. We are especially interested in discussing to what extent local crises are perceived as climate-related.

Panel is open for submissions

20) The politics of infrastructural environments

Tuomas Tammisto, University of Helsinki,
Anu Lounela, University of Helsinki,
Mira Käkönen, Tampere University,

Panel description:
On the 27th of September 2022, three leaks were detected in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines transporting natural gas through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. As gas leaked from the pipes through the water into the atmosphere, decision makers, analysts and the public wondered how the leaks were connected to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The deliberate blowing up of a gas pipeline touches on the topics of panel: the complex intersections of infrastructure, environment, and politics. Our aim is not to focus on geopolitics or on the weaponization of energy infrastructure by autocratic leaders, but ask how infrastructures become both topics and conduits of politics and how lived environments are infrastructured, and to what effects.

The social life of infrastructure and the political work they do has been attractive for anthropologists not least because it allows sense-making of (material and non-material) relationalities in new ways (Harvey, Jensen & Morita 2017; Boyer 2018). Yet, the infrastructure literature, despite its relational approach, has been rather focused on the sociotechincal and human_human relations (Larkin 2013; Barua 2021). At the same time, it is very much our environmental moment and “the increasing intensity at which other-than_human life and infrastructures get enmeshed” (Barua 2021: 469) that moves what has been in the background to the foreground (Blok 2016; Boyer 2018; Heatherington 2019; Barua 2021). The attention of this panel is thus on the political-ecological formations and effects the infrastructures congeal or set in motion.

Infrastructures are “networks that help the flow of goods, people and ideas across space” (Larkin, 2013: 329), but often at the expense of major environmental disruptions and violent exclusions (Rodgers and O’Neill 2012; Li 2018). We are especially interested in how infrastructures alter human and non-human relations and lived environments, and how they lock-in certain relations while foreclosing on others. Are all infrastructures built, and by whom, and how do they figure in different forms of sociality? How do human and non_human relations in a given setting become parts of infrastructures? What kinds of power relations are infrastructures based on and what kinds of relations infrastructures foster, encourage, and discourage? We are also interested in the malleability of various infrastructural formations, as our environmental moment requires rearranging, repurposing or even decommissioning of harmful infrastructural formations. Moreover, we welcome analysis on the possibilities of alternative and alterative infrastructures, and the kinds of relations they would require and engender.

21) Algorithmic (re)configurations

Sonja Trifuljesko,
Tuukka Lehtiniemi,

Panel description:
Algorithmic systems are “dynamic arrangements of people and code”, Nick Seaver (2019: 419) argues. Anthropologists, Seaver (2018) adds, could provide much-needed empiricism and particularism to critical algorithm studies by attending to the everyday life of algorithmic systems. The ethnographic studies of human-machine relations might, however, significantly benefit from engaging with a powerful toolkit developed within science and technology studies (STS). This panel aims to bring forward such engagements. We invite empirical contributions exploring the use of STS devices to interrogate discursive and material relations brought together in algorithmic systems. Configuration is one of the potential tools at researchers’ disposal. As Lucy Suchman (2012:48) remarks, configuration is a conceptual and methodological device for studying socio-technical systems by paying attention to the imaginaries and materialities that they conjoin. More precisely, configuration seeks to foreground the ways in which humans and machines are figured together in discourses and practices related to particular technologies. The strength of a device like configuration is in that it is not only reflexive but also generative: it opens up a space for thinking how humans and machines may be reconfigured, that is figured together anew (Suchman 2007). We encourage prospective authors to examine the possibilities for recovering human agency without reinstating already essentialized distinctions between humans and machines (Ruckenstein 2022). In other words, we invite anthropologists and others to explore the devices for recognizing interrelations of people and code without collapsing the difference between them but seeking “to understand the nature of difference differently” (Suchman 2007:250).

Panel is open for submission

22) Kinship on the move: reproductive mobilities, journeys and relationalities across borders

Chandra Kala Clemente-Martínez, Department of Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona,
Alexandra Desy, Department of Anthropology, Autonomous University of Barcelona,

Panel description:
According to Marilyn Strathern (1995), relations can be made up of abstract – logic, class, category – or concrete relationships – roles and behaviour. This argument serves as the basis for this panel insofar as we are interested in the analysis of the “relationship” in the relational life of people and things. This panel seeks to further debates that explore “relationalities” that are established in the context of reproductive imaginaries, mobilities and journeys.

We are interested in the connections and disconnections produced in daily life, the deepness, reciprocity and quality of relatedness. We are interested in reflections that contribute to a better understanding of how relations, relationships and relationalities are created, maintained, transformed, and dissolved. We welcome papers that examine theoretically and methodologically some of the following topics:

  • Reproductive imaginaries and mobilities
  • Relatedness in kinship and family studies
  • Children as agents of kinship
  • The materiality of kinship
  • Relations and temporalities in third-party reproduction
  • Relationality, biography, personhood

Panel is open for submission

23) The aspect of time as a resource in co-creative work

Dr. Stephan Dudeck (University of Tartu, IASS,
Dr. Thora Herrmann (University of Oulu,,
Dr. Gertrude Saxinger (University of Vienna and APRI, and
Dr. Sophie Elixhauser (University of Vienna,

Panel description:
Research in the Arctic and sub-Arctic often took a "helicopter" approach, where outside scientists entered Indigenous communities for a short period of time, collecting samples and data, and left the community without further contact. This colonial practice led to profound mistrust towards researchers. Research in polar regions is called to change this “helicopter” research attitude and co-create knowledge and build an equitable relationship and meaningful collaboration with the Indigenous rightsholders, a prerequisite to decolonial research. Building an equitable, trusting relationship takes time. As Christleden (2012) titled her paper “I spent the first year drinking tea”. Relationships in truly engaged research are long-term, and do not end with the end of the project. Funding requirements and the academic system often pose limits to built such long-term relationship. This panel aims at drawing a portrait of the importance and challenges of time as a resource in knowledge co-creation and collaborative research practices. We welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, rightsholders and activists to share their experiences. The session uses a multidisciplinary perspective is open to hands-on examples from research practice, theoretical and reflective contributions and discuss the methodological challenges .

This session is organized by Stephan Dudeck, Thora Herrmann, Gertrude Saxinger and Sophie Elixshauser in collaboration with the CO-CREATE network.

24) Appearing of Disappearing: Transformation of the relations in the Arctic societies observed in the visual archives

Anastasia Deyko (on behalf of APECS Art project group) APECS International Directorate UiT The Arctic University of Norway,

Panel description:
“One Arctic-thousands cameras” is the motto of reflection. Main core. Project is devoted to social changes in Arctic regions from the value and aesthetic point of view, based on the visual evidence. Photo bridges (anthropological archives and recent visual materials donations) is the barely considered way to observe (visualise) changes, independently of age, nationality, geographical position. Visual archives are an underestimated tool for Arctic unity. Energy and modern perception of youth is not involved enough in Arctic representations. And modern technologies are the great opportunity to build dialogs over generations. Main core process I see is a mix of modern internet technologies and traditional art of photography. Collected materials distributed in interactive archives (GIS map). The map during the panel transforms to a polygon with the ability to track areas beyond the anthropological studies of social changes. Panel speakers are welcome, but not limited to share researches with the specific interest in: Witnessing the social changes in Arctic Anthropology and digitalisation Barriers and catalisators in the modern social relations.

Panel is open for submission

25) Politics of animism in disturbed landscapes

Anu Lounela (University of Helsinki, and
Viola Schreer (Brunel University London,

Panel description:
This panel seeks to explore politics of animism in disturbed landscapes. Across the planet, local environments, in which humans and other-than-human beings traverse and relate to each other, are radically transformed. Often, this leads not only to environmental degradation, but gives rise to intense political struggle. Yet, what happens to the other-than-human beings, when animated landscapes drastically change? What roles do, for instance, spirits, deities, or souls take in environmental conflicts? How do they appear in disputes, public debates, and conflicts within the transformed landscapes? And how does this ‘political animism’, in turn, change people’s relationships with spiritual beings as well as environmental politics? While anthropological perspectives on animism vary, in general it indicates that non-humans and humans inhabit the same nature and form relations and common sociality through being in this world as sentient or conscious beings (e.g., Bird-David 1999; Descola 2013; Howell 2013 etc.). In the face of accelerating environmental change, deepening social and ecological crisis, and anthropogenic impact on a geological scale, others, by contrast, argue that the Anthropocene - the proposed designation for a new geological epoch defined by human activity -not only forces us to non-modernize our thinking, but desecularizes landscapes, showing how in the ruins of modernity and capitalism spirits and ghosts give rise to new constellations of relations and politics (Gan et al 2017; Bubandt 2017). Others, again, in an attempt to bring political ecology and the anthropology of ontology into conversation, draw on political ontology and its emphasis of plural ontologies (de la Cadena 2015) to suggest plural ecologies (Sprenger and Grossmann 2018). We invite proposals for presentations that address these and other related questions in the context of political struggles in disturbed landscapes. Whether, and how political ecology might help in bringing politics into the study of animated and disputed landscapes? And whether ideas of political ontology can help us to make sense of the rise of political animism in the Anthropocene?

26) Infrastructures as Relations

Ria-Maria Adams (University of Vienna, University of Lapland/Arctic Centre, &
Philipp Budka (University of Vienna,

Panel description: 
Infrastructures create and are created through social relations, relationships, connections, and networks. Infrastructures can be conceptualized as systems, which enable the functioning of technological objects and things. In a broader sense, infrastructures can also be understood as the built and the natural environment humans engage daily with in different localities and sociocultural settings. Following Marilyn Strathern (2018) to think about relations in a pluralistic manner by also looking into human-non-human and more-than-human relations, this panel puts the spotlight on human entanglements with built environments. Through the prism of relations, infrastructures become more than something purely technical. Such a relational perspective is primarily interested in the physical, social, affective, and ideological relations between humans – individuals and groups – and infrastructures. Or, as Tim Ingold (2000) would put it, it highlights the shared experience of humans within an environment. Infrastructures create dependencies, while at the same time, they create promises of development and progress.

This panel invites anthropological and ethnographic studies that look into infrastructures as relations by discussing questions such as: How to explore the material and non-material entanglements of humans with infrastructures? How do infrastructures and the built environment contribute to the liveability and sustainability of communities? How do relations between infrastructures and communities become visible through ethnographic work?
While the convenors of this panel work primarily in Arctic regions and currently focus in particular on transport infrastructures within the ERC project InfraNorth, this panel is open to studies about all kinds of infrastructures from a variety of geographical and sociocultural settings.

Panel open for submissions

27) Relations in the Physical Absence: Dead and Disappeared Persons

PhD candidates Saila Kivilahti (Tampere University, ) and
Ville Laakkonen (Tampere University)

Panel description: 
Human relations are still often characterized by physical presence of, or physical familiarity between, those involved. However, there exists various ways of producing, maintaining, and forging relations in the absence of the physical person. This is, for example, central to many studies that have looked into relations between the living and the dead (e.g. Langford 2009; Strathern 1981; Kopytoff 1971), and the disappeared persons and the ones left behind (Parr et al 2015; Colwell-Chanthaphohn & Greenwald 2011; Jones et al. 2007). In this panel, we seek contributions from scholars focusing on different kinds of human relations in the physical absence of those who are, nevertheless very much present. We seek to explore how do people relate to each other in the presence of physical absence. How is the relation different from the physical presence of another person? In absence, what is needed for the relation to be a relation? Our interest is also in the anthropological knowledge on research into situations where all the persons involved are not necessarily present. What is it like to carry out research in such contexts? How do such situations affect research and the production of 'data', and what does it mean to anthropological knowledge in general?

Panel open for submission
Confirmed speakers: the organiser

28) Convergences of science and tourism in environmental hotspots

Roger Norum,
Anna-Maria Walter,

Panel description: 
Climate and biodiversity hotspots around the world have become attractive places for both scientific research and leisure tourism. Indeed, historically, many “remote” regions have often been “discovered” by adventurers with scientific aspirations. Yet when science and tourism are considered in tandem, it is often simplified to how scientific knowledge can help the tourism industry to evaluate/reduce its environmental footprints, or how tourists can be used as instruments for collecting data. While work on the sustainability of sensitive ecosystems has recognised the importance of unpacking tensions and encouraging stakeholders’ mutual engagement and collaboration, just how scientists and tourists co-exist in the same spaces has been little researched. This panel welcomes papers that investigate the links between these two seemingly distinct groups of actors, focusing not just on the disjoints and divergences, but on the potential interconnections and alliances, between them. We encourage papers that might reflect on, for example, encounters of scientists and tourists in the Arctic, the Alps or the Himalayas; understandings or productions of scientific knowledge in tourism contexts; representations of science/tourism in contexts of environmental change; routines of studying or practices of touring in areas popular with ‘last chance’ scientists or tourists; knowledge production and consumption practices of industry actors across tourism and science (e.g. environmental data service providers, cruise companies, etc.). The panel aims to develop an emerging field of study, led by anthropologists, ecologists, and STS scholars, on the crossovers of science and tourism to illuminate how to build sustainable planetary practices.

Panel is open for submission

29) Relations, co-creations and representations in and around ethnographic museums

Dr. Piret Koosa (Estonian National Museum,,
Dr Jaanika Vider (University of Vienna/Pitt Rivers Museum,,

Panel description: 
Museums, which were key institutions when anthropology emerged as an academic discipline and then abandoned as irrelevant to social analysis, re-emerged as a central arena of a new sub-discipline in the 1970 and 1980s. In recent years, museum anthropology has gained wider attention through postcolonial public discourse regarding ownership, repatriation, and restitution of material culture. This renewed focus, also reflected in recent debates on the ICOM museum definition, has led to an increasing number of museums asking how they can respond to the critical discourse that primarily draws on examples from institutions in former coloniser countries.

This panel seeks to bring together scholars from different institutional and national contexts to explore current challenges and opportunities in ethnographic museums with a particular focus on the “front of house.” That is, we are interested in the kinds of relationships and engagements which occur during display processes, community projects and events and collaborations with creative industries. Taking inspiration from Joshua Bell who evokes Kim TallBear’s notion of kin-making to understand the erasures created at “the intersections of museums, things, places, and communities“ and to understand “the bundle of relations between, and materialized in, things in and outside heritage regimes and museums” (2022: 1), we ask how communities are shaped around objects, how latter act as ambassadors and how anthropological knowledge is co-created in the museum. However, we also encourage presenters to reflect on “failures” to apply decolonial museological approaches and practices, whose concepts of care and repair usually emerge from the fault lines of settler/Indigenous and coloniser/colonised relations. What happens and how do we, as museum anthropologists, respond when stakeholders desire familiarity and display of essentialised culture? Do museums, as Miriam Kahn noted in 2000, through their very nature “encourage this stasis even while trying to revitalize culture”? The increasing re-thinking of world cultures collections through work of artists such as Lisa Reihana, George Nuku, Kathy Jetril-Kijner and Yuki Kihara, suggests an avenue for the presentation of polyphonic voices which do not implicitly suggest museological objectivity, however there are questions about the upkeep of altered perceptions after artist exhibitions and interventions depart museum spaces.

In light of the very complex and layered sets of relations embedded in and around ethnographic museums and their collections, the panel discussion will contribute to theoretical thinking about relations in anthropology more broadly.

Panel is open for submissions 

30) Histories of and from the Circumpolar North

Dr. Jaanika Vider (

Panel description:
The northern circumpolar region has had a special place in the history of anthropology since its early foundations. Franz Boas made his first foray into ethnographic fieldwork on the Baffin island, Diamond Jenness honed his skills as an ethnographer in the Canadian Arctic, and Siberia has been called the “living laboratory” of Russian ethnography (Arzytov and Anderson 2016). The environmental conditions in these regions have meant that relationships between researchers and local communities as well as humans and non-humans have always been of great significance. Today, studies into relations between humans and non-humans and traditional ecological knowledge puts anthropological research in the Circumpolar North at the forefront of international efforts to address the human causes and consequences of climate change.

Following from the “History of Arctic Anthropology” conference at the Royal Anthropological Institute in 2020, this panel seeks to further expand discussion of the particularities and significance of research in the North. Inspired by comments by Tim Ingold, we invite papers that grapple with the landscape, people, and animals from which the history arises, to focus on intersections and movement, give space to historical experiences and consider different temporalities at play.

Questions that the papers may consider include:

  • How do we understand knowledge-making communities in the North?
  • What kinds of relations did anthropologists have with their interlocutors?
  • What is the role of Indigenous epistemologies in the anthropological knowledge that was produced?
  • What roles do visual and material culture play in the creation of ethnographic representations of the North?
  • How does the history of Anthropology in/of Circumpolar North affect our understanding of (history of) anthropology more broadly?

Panel by invitation.

31) Pig worlds: understanding porcine multiplicity in the Anthropocene

Kieran O’Mahony (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences,
Paul Keil (Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences,
Virginie Vate-Klein (National Centre for Scientific Research, France,

Panel description:
Living as co-symbionts with humans for millennia, pigs are highly adaptable beings. Enacted in multiple ways, they are a 'diaspora' constituted through diverse social, ecological, and historical relations. There is no single Sus Scrofa kind, rather, pigs are a kaleidoscope of bodies, capacities, identities, and subjectivities, engaged with by humans as meat, game, pests, ecological engineers, homely companions, medical surrogates, and spiritual relatives. They are great disruptors, challenging the moral, ethical, and spatial (b)orders humans devise to differentiate the im/pure, un/desirable, or domestic/wild.

Porcine subjects offer a multifaceted set of human-nonhuman interactions and perspectives that benefit anthropological comparison. Their multiplicity also enables us to articulate the precarity, contradictions, and patchiness of the Anthropocene. Porcine ways of being are dramatically afforded and constrained during this era. While some have proliferated through colonial expansion, climatic transformation, industrial capitalism, and plantation ecologies, others are threatened by these shifting conditions. Pigs are embroiled in contemporary anthropological concerns, such as emergent pathogenic ecologies, destructive global infrastructures, and other-than-human necropolitics.

This session explores the multiplicity of pig worlds, storying their lives and relations, and their limits. Following the generalist tendencies of pigs, we welcome submissions from all disciplines. Contributions might unfold in or between forests, farms, cities, abattoirs, laboratories or homes, and reside in the material and spiritual. We invite empirical narratives, and ontological, epistemological, and ethical provocations. Thinking through difference, querying hegemonic discourse, reconceptualising their presences in the Anthropocene, the session seeks to probe ways we can understand and reconceptualise such beings, their relations and beyond.