23.4. Language endangerment and well-being: Questions for a sustainable linguistics
Presenter: Stef Spronck; Discussant: Elisa Pascucci
Fri 23.4. at 11.00-12.00 Join webinar on zoom
The world’s linguistic diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate (an often cited num-ber estimates that about every two weeks one of the about 6000-7000 languages ceases to be spoken). This is mostly due to the gradual assimilation and death of marginalised communities. Endangered language communities that are able to maintain or even increase their number of speakers, score substantially better on a range of well-being indicators than communities that do not (Angelo et al. 2019). Linguistics, and particularly Documentary and Descriptive Linguistics (Himmelmann 1998), has a direct stake in preserving and propagating the world’s language diversity. However, as linguistic fieldworkers, we often find ourselves remarkably illequipped to meet the practical expectations of communities to assist language maintenance (Wilkins 1992, Thieberger 2002). With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing new models of remote fieldwork, it is also opportune to evaluate current fieldwork practices.
In this talk Stef Spronck reflects on how problems of sustainability and language endangerment are intertwined, as well as on the sustainability and impact on Indigenous communities of the discipline of linguistics itself. The talk outlines the first stage of a pilot project by the same title, made possible with a HELSUS seed funding grant (2021).
Bio: Stef Spronck (PhD Australian National University, 2016) is a postdoctoral researcher in General Linguistics at the University of Helsinki. He has worked with Indigenous communities in Australia on the documentation and description of Aboriginal languages since 2008.
14.5. More logistics, less aid: Humanitarian-business partnerships and sustainability in the refugee camp
Presenter: Elisa Pascucci; Discussant: Stef Spronck
The presentation, based on article published in the journal World Development in 2021, discusses logistics – the science and practice of managing complex operations and moving goods – as an essential yet overlooked dimension of the alignment of global business and global aid in the UN 2030 Agenda era. Focusing on refugee aid, it draws on qualitative fieldwork with practitioners in the field of humanitarian logistics, active in the partnership environment of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in five countries (Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Rwanda and Sweden).
The analysis shows how aid workers see profit and non-profit partnerships for humanitarian logistics as a priority in the context of the so-called humanitarian-development nexus. In particular, logistics is considered essential to bring refugee aid in line with emerging standards of sustainability. The study puts forward a twofold argument. First, it shows how sustainability policies prioritize logistical solutions that are based on the integration of the displaced in local and transnational markets, rather than on the delivery of material goods and infrastructures. Second, in a slight departure from existing literature on humanitarian logistics, it argues that the agency of the humanitarian sector, and not just that of the corporate world, is central in the promotion of humanitarian logistics partnerships. The conclusions discuss the ethical and political implications of a humanitarianism increasingly oriented towards supply-chain rationales, in which more sustainable logistics often equates less material aid.
Bio: Elisa Pascucci (PhD Geography, University of Sussex) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, where she is affiliated to the EuroStorie centre and to the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of infrastructures, logistics and labour in humanitarian aid, and explores the subjectivities and forms of political agency that develop within humanitarian spaces. Her work has been published in journals such as Antipode, Area, Environment and Planning A and International Political Sociology. Together with Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert, she has co-edited the volume Citizen Humanitarianism at European Borders (Routledge).
4.6. Sensory and artful sustainability science
presenter: Harald Heinrichs
The more recent discourses and practices at the intersection of sustainability and (visual) arts have its roots inartistic subfields emerged in the second half of the 20thcentury. Particularlylandscape artand ecological art as well as interventionist, performative art forms are influential in that regard. Connecting to these artistic practicesthe role of art for sustainable development has been discussed in the scientific community over the past decade in the context of cultural sustainability. Therein the aesthetic and imaginative power of artistic creativity for reflecting and intervening into (un)sustainabilityhas beenexplored.Next to this understanding of sustainability and arts the approachesof arts-based research for sustainable developmentand sensory sustainability science haveemerged. Theseperspectives areabout employing artistic practicesand strategiesas well asmethods ofsensory ethnographyin scientific inquiries in order to generate aesthetic-sensory insights.In the presentation I will give an overview of conceptual and methodological foundationsand showcase somepractical examples of employingthis approach in teaching and research.The presentation concludes with a reflection on potentials and challenges of sensory and artful sustainability science
Bio: Prof. Dr. Harald Heinrichs, sociologist, Leuphana University Lüneburgworks in research, teaching and transfer in thefield of sustainability, politics and society.One focal area isartful and sensory sustainability science.Recent publicationson this topic are: Heinrichs, H. (2021): Aesthetic Expertise for Sustainable Development: Envisioning Artful Scientific Policy Advice. In: World2021, 2(1), 92-104;Heinrichs, H. (2019): Strengthening Sensory Sustainability Science –Theoretical and Methodological Considerations. In: Sustainability2019, 11(3), 769; Heinrichs, H. (2018): Sustainability Science with Ozzy Osbourne, Julia Roberts and Ai Weiwei: The Potential of Arts-Based Research for Sustainable Development.In: GAIA –Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Volume 27, Nr. 1,2018,pp. 132-137(6
Past seminars spring 2021
PAST: 5.3. Industrializing sentient landscapes: indigenous visions of mining and sustainability in Northwestern Russia
presenter: Anna Varfolomeeva
Fri 5.3. at 11.00-12.00
Indigenous peoples' relations with nature and industry are often discussed as oppositions between traditional lifestyle and resource extraction. However, there are examples when indigenous residents develop strong bonds with mining and view it as a factor influencing their region's sustainability.
This presentation discusses the case study of indigenous Veps in the Republic of Karelia (Northwestern Russia) who embrace stone extraction as a vital part of their identity. Since the 18th-19th centuries, Veps have been extracting two rare ornamental stones: gabbro-diabase and raspberry quartzite. They experienced a switch from small-scale artisanal mining to extensive Soviet-time industrial development and privatization of state enterprises in the post-Soviet period. The presentation analyzes how the emotional attachments of Veps stoneworkers towards their resources influence their relations with place. The rapid industrialization of Veps territories produced new narratives stressing the sacrality of labor and deep bonds between the stone and its producers. In Veps' perspectives, local connections with nature and industry are often intertwined. Mining is seen as deeply rooted in the landscape's richness, while at the same time, it influences the present and future of Veps villages.
Bio: Anna Varfolomeeva is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Arts and HELSUS, University of Helsinki. Her postdoctoral project focuses on indigenous conceptualizations of sustainability in industrial settings. Anna defended her PhD in 2019 at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University. She has published on indigenous relations with extractive industries and the symbolism of mining and infrastructure in Northwestern Russia and Siberia
PAST: 26.3. Our Extractive Age: Exploring Extractivisms
presenting group: Christopher Chagnon, Francesco Durante, Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov, Saana Hokkanen, Markus Kröger and Will LaFleur
Fri 26.3. at 11.00-12.00
Extractivism characterizes the modern era. Since the 2000s extractivisms have intensified, becoming ever-more global, propelled by land and resource rushes. Whether we realize or not, extractivisms deeply shape our experience of everyday life. We conceptualize extractivism here as, “a particular way of thinking and the properties and practices organized towards the goal of maximizing benefit through extraction, which brings in its wake violence and destruction.” On the academic front, the use of the concept of extractivism has expanded from mining to new arenas like agriculture, forestry, finance, and even the digital. Our presentation will provide a brief introduction to the complex web of extractivisms, where data and the digital intersect with natural resource extractivisms and provoke resistances to these processes and underlying ideological and historically-situated logics.
This presentation is drawn from our co-authored work in chapters 1 and 9 from the forthcoming Routledge book Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance, which will be published in May 2021.
Christopher Chagnon is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
Francesco Durante is a PhD candidate in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC) in affiliation with the Aleksanteri Institute and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
Sophia E. Hagolani-Albov is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (DENVI), University of Helsinki.
Saana Hokkanen is a Graduate student in Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki.
Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland.
Will LaFleur is a PhD candidate in Global Development Studies in the Political, Societal, and Regional Change Doctoral Programme (PSRC), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.