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Thule as Frontier

Commons, Contested Resources, and Contact Zones in the High Arctic

Kirsten Hastrup

Located in Northwest Greenland, the Thule region is a remarkable frontier zone. This article focusses on the undecided nature of the frontier in both time and space. The article explores the unstable ground upon which ‘resources’ emerge as such. The case is made in three analytical parts: The first discusses the notion of commons and the implicit issue of spatiality. The second shows how the region’s living resources were perceived and poses a question of sustainability. The third centres on the Arctic as a ‘contact zone’; a place for colonial encounters and a meeting ground between human and nonhuman agents.

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Natures of Naturalism

Reaching Bedrock in Climate Science

Martin Skrydstrup

incommensurable, I continue with an ethnographic exploration of a domain located firmly within what Descola designates as naturalism. This domain is climate science conducted on the empirical terrain of Greenland’s ice. But let me first introduce another Parisian

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Nathalia Brichet

This article explores the emergence of a Greenlandic mineral resource landscape against the background of the current establishment of an industrial ruby mine in Greenland. Anthropological fieldwork combined with a close reading of scientific reports, articles, and geological assessments about Greenlandic gemstones show a recurrent feature, namely that Greenlandic minerals get scaled and valued in ambiguous ways. This ambiguity is telling of a type of Danish (post-)colonial activity, even if such geological mapping was and is motivated by a dream of welfare, development, and economic sustainability shared by Danish experts and Greenlandic politicians alike. An overall point is to argue that the very practice of describing mineral resources also configures their perceived value and posits a yardstick by which to measure their potential.

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Marlene Laruelle

Russia is unique on the circumpolar landscape in that indigenous communities constitute only a small percentage of its Arctic population. Whereas they represent 80 percent of Greenland’s population, 50 percent of Canada’s, 20 percent of Alaska’s, and 15 percent of Norway’s Arctic regions, they make up less than 5 percent of the population of Arctic Russia. Although indigenous peoples have a more solid demography than Russians and have therefore seen their share of the Arctic population slowly increase over the past two decades, their rights remain fragile. Moscow does not consider the Arctic to have a specific status due to the presence of indigenous peoples, and its reading of the region is still very much shaped by the imperial past, the memory of an easy conquest (osvoenie) of territories deemed “unpopulated,” and the exploitation of the region’s subsoil resources.

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Agri-cultures in the Anthropocene

Martin Skrydstrup and Hyun-Gwi Park

Today when we think about climate change and Greenland, we do not think about agriculture, but of the melting ice. Perhaps the most evocative articulation of this connection was made in December 2015, when Paris was hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21. At this event, artist Olafur Elisasson and geologist Minik Rosing exhibited their art installation Ice Watch at the Place du Pantheon: a circle of icebergs with a circumference of twenty meters, which resembled a watch ticking and/or a compass providing orientation for the world’s leaders in the palm of Paris. The ice had been transported by tugboat from the harbor of Nuuk—Greenland’s capital—to France. The captain of the tugboat was Kuupik Kleist, former prime minister of Greenland, who was quoted saying: “Ninety per cent of our country is covered by ice. It is a great part of our national identity. We follow the international discussion, of course, but to every Greenlander, just by looking out the window at home, it is obvious that something dramatic is happening” (Zarin 2015).

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Elizabeth Plumridge, Conal McCarthy, Kaitlin McCormick, Mark O'Neill, Lee Davidson, Vivian Ting, Alison K. Brown and Arkotong Longkumer

BENNETT, Tony, Making Culture, Changing Society

GOLDING, Viv, and Wayne MODEST, eds., Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration

KRMPOTICH, Cara, and Laura PEERS, eds., This Is Our Life: Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice

MESSAGE, Kylie, Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest

SCOTT, Carol, ed., Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures

SU, Xiaobo, and Peggy TEO, The Politics of Heritage Tourism in China: A View from Lijiang

VAN BROEKHOVEN, Laura, et al., eds., Sharing Knowledge and Cultural Heritage: First Nations of the Americas—Studies in Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples from Greenland, North and South America

WEST, Andy, Museums, Colonialism and Identity: A History of Naga Collections in Britain

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Frida Hastrup and Marianne Elisabeth Lien

This article outlines the thematic section’s main anthropological interventions and introduces the inherently ambiguous notion of welfare frontiers, implying allegedly benign practices of resource development. Through ethnographic analyses from Iceland, Norway, and Greenland, it shows that Nordic Arctic landscapes become resourceful through careful crafting, entangled with practices and ideals of nation-building, egalitarianism, sustainability, good governance, and a concern for liveability for legitimate citizens. Further, the authors suggest that seeing natural resource development as linked to specific welfare state projects, with attention to the sometimes colonizing aspects of such practices, specifies and captures the current era, bringing the Anthropocene back home.

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Ksenia Gavrilova

Seyfrit 1994 ). One of the crucial trends of rural–urban youth migration in different Arctic countries is known as female flight . Using data from Alaska (with brief comparison to situations in Greenland, Iceland, and Russia), Lawrence Hamilton and

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An Environmentally Literate Explorer

A. E. Nordenskiöld’s Three Expeditions to the North Asian Coast, 1875–1879

Seija A. Niemi

expeditions covered a vast area, from Greenland in the west to the Bering Strait in the east ( Kish 1973: 495 ; Nathorst 1902: 142 ; Nordenskiöld 1877b: 25–26 ). According to the Swedish geologist Alfred Nathorst, Torell’s expedition of 1861 formed the

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Meshworks and the Making of Climate Places in the European Alps

A Framework for Ethnographic Research on the Perceptions of Climate Change

Sophie Elixhauser, Stefan Böschen and Katrin Vogel

of places or knots of encounter in the sea- and landscape of East Greenland, which changes and adapts according to the Inuit’s and other beings’ travel patterns. Similarly, Martina Tyrrell (2013: 11) describes the entanglement of lines across the