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Dossiers
Authors
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
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      published contributions
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
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      published contributions
  • Sammy Baloji
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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      published contributions
  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
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      published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
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      published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
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      published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
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      published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
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      published contributions
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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      published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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      published contributions
  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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      published contributions
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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      published contributions
  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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      published contributions
  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
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      published contributions
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
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      published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
    • Rico, in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Knorr has taught, exhibited, and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the University of Westminster, and Goldsmiths in London, as well as Harvard Univ
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      published contributions
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
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      published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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      published contributions
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Brian Larkin
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • 1
      published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
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      published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
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      published contributions
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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      published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
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      published contributions
  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
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      published contributions
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
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      published contributions
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
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      published contributions
  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
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      published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • 1
      published contributions
  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
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      published contributions
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
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      published contributions
  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
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      published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
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      published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
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      published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
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      published contributions
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
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      published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
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On Land and Lakes: Colonizing the North

The Sámi, having lived in the Arctic regions of Scandinavia for millennia, have cultivated ritualized fishing and lake-caring techniques that maintain a reciprocal relationship with their aqueous environment. But over the years, these practices of relation have been threatened by the encroachment of industry, climate change, and even environmental restrictions. The social scientists Liv Østmo and John Law explain how this complicates the ontology of an entire region.
Land and water in Sápmi
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The plateau in summer.

The land stretches out, gently rising and falling into the distance. It’s covered with willow and dwarf birch and grass and moss and lichen and outcrops of rock as far as the eye can see. Summer birds call, there are ducks on the lake, and there are clouds of mosquitoes. If you walk and you know where to look, you will find bilberries and cloudberries, and mushrooms too. We are in the north of Norway in Finnmark, on the high plateau with its subarctic tundra. We are also in Sápmi, the land of the Sámi people. A gentle breeze is rippling the surface of the lake. And on the edge of the lake a small group of people are getting ready to fish. They have a boat, a long seine net, and ropes. Once they are fishing, the net will set like a semi-circular curtain. It will pass through the water sweeping up any fish in its path. As it moves forward, the fish will concentrate in the center and then get swept up into a bag, also made from netting, in the middle of the net.
Seine fishing is a skillful job. Here in Sápmi you need to choose the right place to fish. You need to choose the right time to fish. And the right time of year. You need to know how much to fish, also where not to fish. You need to know when things don’t look right, so you know when not to fish. You need to keep the nets, the floats, and the weights in good order, and make sure they are there by the lake when you need them.
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Anders Persen Siri and Johan Henrik Buljo putting out the seine net.

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Anders Persen Siri and Johan Henrik Buljo pulling in the seine net.

And when you actually start to fish you need to make sure that the net doesn’t get tangled up when you are paying it out. You need to row the boat slowly in a wide arc so the net gets set right. You need to keep the net moving when you are hauling it in, so that the floats splash and scare the fish so they don’t escape. You need to pull both ends of the net in, at the same rate, because if you don’t the fish won’t end up in the bag. When you finally haul the net to shore, you need to close the neck of the bag quickly to stop the fish getting away. Then you also need to speak to the lake, to ask it to give you fish. You may need to make it offerings. You need to look after the lake, to keep it healthy, by clearing it of debris and rooting out sedge. You need to bless the lake even if you didn’t catch any fish. And you need to return the bones of the fish that you have eaten to the roots of a birch tree.
Inger Anne O. Hætta and Isak M. Hætta have been fishing for a lifetime: they are traditional knowledge holders.This account of fishing draws in part from Liv Østmo, Nuohttegeassin, Traditional Knowledge of Shore Seine Fishing, 2011. Video, 28 min. 18 sec., in Sámi with English subtitles, with Inger Anne O. Hætta and Isak M. Hætta. Árbediehtu Pilot project, Sámi Allaskuva (Sami University of Applied Sciences), Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino, Norway also available online <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YATDMoU4Yoo>. We particularly wish to thank the traditional knowledge holders Isak M. Hætta and Inger Anne O. Hætta for their gracious participation in the Árbediehtu project.
Inger Anne explains that she started fishing with her father when her mother was carrying her second child. Though she was just a young girl she was needed because it takes at least two people, really three, to handle the net.
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Sylvi Granaas and Andersen Persen Siri hauling the seine net to shore.

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Sara Inger Marie, Tornensis Bong, and Johan Henrik Buljo clearing the seine net.

She and Isak are looking at the floats. Made of weathered wood, they say that these floats are old. Indeed, some have names and dates scratched onto them. The markings are not so legible, but it becomes clear that there are family names here. One reads “Inga Klemetsdatter Hætta, 1924,” and a second “Isak Mikkelsen Hætta, 1916.” The floats confirm that this lake has been fished for generations. They also tell us that it has been fished by people from the same extended family for at least a hundred years. And ‒ this is important ‒ in addition they tell us that the relations between the lakes in Sápmi and the people who fish on them go back a very long way.
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Powan.

Life has changed since the 1960s when the first roads came to the plateau. The 1960s is also when snowmobiles and quad bikes arrived. Before then, there was less physical mobility. Though the tradition continues, it was clearer that particular family groups fished in – and cared for – particular lakes. Outsiders couldn’t easily travel. And the fishing routines were different too. Thus, even if you knew the land well it was difficult to move across the plateau after the thaw, so you took everything you needed for fishing to the lake in winter, skiing and using reindeer-drawn sleds. The boat, the nets, the salt that you used to preserve fish and the half-barrels that you stored them in, you brought all these to the lake while everything was still frozen. And after you had fished in the summer you waited for the freeze to come again before you shipped the barrels of salted fish off to be eaten, sold, or bartered. Because the salt fish from the lakes – in English the fish is called powan – was not only crucial for subsistence, though indeed it was. It was also of considerable economic importance. Merchants have been buying or bartering salted powan for salt and coffee and sugar and other staples for at least two centuries. Even away from the coastline, Sámi people have been in the webs of trade for a very long time.Lars Ivar Hansen, “Sami Fisheries in the Pre-modern Era: Household Sustenance and Market Relations,” Acta Borealia, vol. 23, no. 1 (2006), pp. 56‒80, also online <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08003830600789390>.
A colonial context
But then they have been caught up in the webs of politics too, as a changing medley of nations from the south (currently Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Finland) have pursued their national and colonial projects by settling, extracting, trading, and defining their territorial boundaries in ways that usually made no sense to those already living there. These projects were often directly or indirectly repressive. Sámi society – and especially reindeer-herding society – was torn in profound ways when the border between Finland (then Russia) and Norway was closed in 1852, and again in 1888 when the Swedish authorities closed the frontier to reindeer herding. Sometimes, and especially in the nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century, the motives of the authorities were unashamedly racist: Sámi were simply inferior. Anthropologists collected and measured skulls, while in many places – though not on the plateau – it became shaming to speak Sámi, and the language was lost. Farming practices better adapted to southern Norway were imported to the subarctic and imposed, and many Sámi were obliged to settle in villages. And there were sustained pressures on land use, pressures that are still powerfully at work. In particular, there has been – and there still is – large-scale commercial extraction of minerals, oil, and fish, together with extensive quarrying. There have been hydroelectric projects and webs of power lines have been built. And now land is being increasingly absorbed by tourism, while the designation of large areas as wilderness or as national parks has also continued to squeeze Sámi ways of living.We cannot explore this centuries-long conflict here, but for aspects of this, see: Harald Eidheim, “When ethnic Identiy is a Social Stigma,” in Fredrik Barth (ed.), Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1969, pp. 39‒57; Nils Oskal, “Political Inclusion of the Saami as Indigenous People in Norway,” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, vol. 8, nos 2‒3 (2001), pp. 235‒62; Henry Minde, “Assimilation of the Sami – Implementation and Consequences,” Acta Borealia, vol. 20, no. 2 (2003), pp. 121‒46, also online <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08003830310002877>; Chad M. Briggs, “Science, local knowledge and exclusionary practices: Lessons from the Alta Dam case,” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift ‒ Norwegian Journal of Geography, vol. 60, no. 2 (2006), pp. 149‒60, also online <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950600723146>; Vuokko Hirvonen, “Sámeeatnama jinet ‒ sápmelaš nissona bálggis girječállin,” PhD thesis, Oulu University, 1998; published in Northern Sámi; English translation, Voices from Sápmi: Sámi Women’s Path to Authorship. Kautokeino: Hirvonen, 2008; Inger Marie Gaup Eira et al., “Sápmi: Kautokeino, Norway and Inari, Finland,” in Anders Oskal et al. (eds), EALÁT Reindeer Herders’ Voice: Reindeer herding, traditional knowledge and adaptation to climate change and loss of grazing land. Kautokeino: International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, 2009, p. 31; Siv Ellen Kraft, “The making of a sacred mountain: Meanings of nature and sacredness in Sápmi and northern Norway,” Religion, vol. 40, no. 1 (2010), pp. 53‒61, also online <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048721X09001146>; Mikkel Nils Sara, “Land Usage and Siida Autonomy,” Arctic Review on Law and Politics, vol. 3, no. 2 (2011), pp. 138‒58; Svein D. Mathiesen et al., “Strategies to enhance the resilience of Sámi reindeer husbandry to rapid changes in the Arctic,” in Arctic Council (ed.), Arctic Resilience Interim Report 2013. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre, 2013, pp. 109–12; Susann Funderud Skogvang, “Legal Questions Regarding Mineral Exploration and Exploitation in Indigenous Areas,” Michigan State International Law Review, vol 22, no. 1 (2013), pp. 321‒45; Hugo Reinert, “Weight, Density and Space in the Norwegian Reindeer Crisis — Notes Towards a Critique,” Valuation Studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (2014), pp. 153‒83; Kathrine Ivsett Johnsen et al., “Seeing like the state or like pastoralists? Conflicting narratives on the governance of Sámi reindeer husbandry in Finnmark, Norway,” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift ‒ Norwegian Journal of Geography, vol. 69, no. 4 (2015), pp. 230‒41, here p. 232, also online <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291951.2015.1033747>; Solveig Joks and John Law, “Sámi Salmon, State Salmon: LEK, Technoscience and Care, Sociological Review Monograph,” in Vicky Singleton et al., Care and Policy Practices: Translations, Assemblages, Interventions. Chichester: Hobeken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017 (in the press), also online <http://www.heterogeneities.net/publications/JoksLaw2016SamiSalmonScienceSalmon.pdf>.
Though these pressures persist, there have also been recent changes for the better. Between 1979 and 1982, Sámi political identity was crystallized by a hydroelectric proposal to submerge a large Sámi village.Briggs, “Science, local knowledge and exclusionary practices.”
After much struggle the result was the establishment of a Sámi parliament in 1989, and the Norwegian recognition of the Sámi as an indigenous people in 1990. Johnsen et al., “Seeing like the state or like pastoralists?,” p. 230.
Along the way, education in Sámi, banned since 1898, became possible. More recently, and more directly relevant to our story of land and water, in 2005, the land title for 95 percent of Finnmark was vested in the Finnmark Estate, FeFo (Finnmarkseiendommen/Finnmarkkuopmodat). FeFo, an autonomous body with partial Sámi membership, has the power and the obligation to investigate traditional uses of land, and (though this works controversially) to establish usufruct where this is appropriate.Else Grete Broderstad, “Implementing Indigenous Self-Determination: the Case of Sámi in Norway,” in Marc Woons and Ku Leuven (eds), Restoring Indigenous Self-Determination: Theoretical and Practical Approaches. Global: E-International Relations, 2014, pp. 80‒87, also online <http://www.e-ir.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Restoring-Indigenous-Self-Determination-E-IR.pdf>.
Such is the colonial context we require if we are to think well about fishing in lakes in Sápmi. About land and water.

Relations with the lake
Sámi people such as Inger Anne O. Hætta and Isak M. Hætta not only go fishing, but they also care for the lakes in which they fish. Thus, for instance, you never take more fish than you need. That is one rule of thumb. A second is that if all the fish are the same size, then you stop fishing, because this shows that the fish in the lake are not reproducing. A third is that you don’t try to catch fish when they are carrying roe near their spawning beds. Of course, if you are to avoid doing this you also need to know the location of their spawning beds, so you need to know your lake. You need, like the Hætta family, to be in a continuing relation with it – something that has become more difficult in the mobile post-1960s era of snowmobiles and quad bikes.
The continuity in the relations between people and lakes reveals itself in other ways. We said, for instance, that Sámi fishing people clear out debris. They do this because over the course of a year leaves fall and branches are blown into the lake. Logs and trees are washed down and come to rest where the rivers flow into the lake. Or they float to the outlet and start to dam it. And then the Sámi fishing people clear out sedge, since if this is left to its own devices, it quickly spreads in areas of stagnant water, and then the water flows even less well. If you ask traditional knowledge holders, they will tell you that this makes the lake unhealthy, because if the water is stagnant then the best fish – the powan – begin to suffer while the pike multiply.
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A float on the net. Anders Persen Siri.

Some pike in a lake are okay, but too many are not desirable, in part because they bring parasites with them. So, a stagnant lake, one that is blocked, is one in which there are fewer powan; and those that are in there are poorer in quality. All of this means that those who customarily fish in a lake also try to care for that lake. As we have just said, they clear away debris and use long forked branches to twist and uproot the sedge. (Merely cutting this does not help, it just grows back.) But, also important, fishing with a seine net improves the quality of the lake. This is because the weights on the bottom of the net drag along the bed of the lake and stir it up. The slimy layer of rotting vegetation gets churned up so sedge does not get established. At the same time, the insect life at the bottom of the lake also gets mixed into the water. The traditional knowledge holders say that this is why the fishing is better if you go back to the same place next day.
So caring for the lake makes for a healthy lake. But caring is multivalent and it ramifies in ways that do not necessarily make sense to outsiders. Indeed, in ways that are not necessarily visible to outsiders. For instance, as we briefly noted above, fishing people will ask the lake to give up fish before they start fishing. They will thank the lake and bless it once they have fished. Indeed, they will bless it even if they caught no fish – the reasoning being that, after all, there are fish in the lake and they will be coming back to fish another day. And, we mentioned this too, they will also return the bones of the fish they have eaten to the ground near the lake. All of these are expressions of respect. The importance of respect becomes visible, too, in a Sámi story about fishing. This tells of a man and a boy who went to a lake to fish, and were blessed with extraordinary success. They salted the fish, and melted the fat – a good powan is a fat fish – in a pan over the fire. But the boy was puzzled. The oil in the pan kept on disappearing. After a couple of days, he decided to find out why. And what he found was that after they went to bed the fisherman got up, took the oil, walked out of the camp, and poured it over a stone. The boy said nothing, but in the morning, he walked to the stone, and threw it in the lake. Then their fishing luck changed, they caught nothing, and they went on catching nothing. Until, after several days, they caught a reindeer heart, which they cooked and ate. Then a reindeer came close and they killed it, only to find that when they butchered it, it didn’t have a heart. The boy thought, this is strange, but the fisherman said that it wasn’t odd at all: after all, they had already eaten the heart. At which point the boy got frightened and ran off home.
This is a story about respect. But it is a story that makes best sense if you know that the stone was a sieidi. A sieidi is a place, often a stone, which is also a place of offering. Sometimes a place of worship, a sieidi is always a place where offerings are made with the objective of maintaining reciprocity. It is somewhere you treat respectfully even if it is not your own sieidi.On sieidi see Nils Oskal, “On nature and reindeer luck,” Rangfer, vol. 20, nos 2‒3 (2000), pp. 175‒80, here p. 179; Tiina Äikäs, “Archaeology of sieidi stones: Excavating sacred places,” in Jose-Maria Mallarach et al. (eds), The Diversity of Sacred Lands in Europe: Proceedings of the Third Workshop of the Delos Initiative. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2012, pp. 47‒57, here p. 49; also online <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Josep_Maria_Mallarach/publication/271851529_The_Diversity_of_Sacred_Lands_in_Europe._Proceedings_of_the_Third_Workshop_of_the_Delos_Initiative_-_Inari__Aanaar_2010/links/54d507400cf25013d02a5f1e.pdf - page=38>; and Jelena Porsanger, “Indigenous Sámi religion: General considerations about relationships,” in Jose-Maria Mallarach et al. (eds), The Diversity of Sacred Lands in Europe: Proceedings of the Third Workshop of the Delos Initiative. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2012, pp. 37‒45, here p. 41, also available online as in the previous reference.
That explains why the fishing went wrong when the boy threw the sieidi in the lake. The moral of the story has thus to do with both respect and reciprocity. We are being told that, that which is taken is also given. Or, perhaps better, that taking is impossible without giving. The reindeer gave its heart. And the lake gave its fish until its relation with the man and the boy was ruptured by the action of the boy. Respect, reciprocity, and care, here all three are woven together. And so too is fear, or at least a sense of the limits of human power. For on the subarctic plateau the forces at work deserve respect. They are powerful actors in their own right. The weather. Or the lake. Or the moon.
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Lake.

BerkesFikret Berkes, Sacred Ecology. Abingdon: Routledge, 2012, p. 40.
observes that “[t]he idea of an environment that is actually controllable by humans is a uniquely modernist concept.” Exactly so. But respectful long-term relations are possible, desirable, and indeed necessary. That is how this world works. People are caught up in and nurture relations of reciprocity with other powerful actors. Prediction is not possible. This time your net may be empty, but next time, or the time after, there will be fish again.

Nature and culture?
But this tells us something else. This is that people and the other actors in this world are not so very different from one another. Indeed, in many respects they act in more or less the same way. Think again about lake care. As we have seen, fishing people clear the debris from the lake. But they don’t always have to do this because often the spring melt does it for them. To understand this you need to know that on the plateau the spring melt can be quite dramatic. In a very short period, a day or two, the ice that has been blocking the rivers over the winter breaks up and the melt – a mixture of ice and water – forces its way downstream. The power accumulated over the winter is released and the melt pushes branches, logs, and trees before it. It may add to the debris in the lake, but it may also scour the debris out. If this happens then people such as Inger Anne and Isak don’t have to do it themselves. But for our purposes, what is most important is the way that the traditional knowledge holders talk about this. For when they need to clear the debris themselves, they say that they are simply doing the work of the melt. We said this a moment ago. In this world, for certain purposes people and the weather are not so very different. Or people and the lake. In this world all of these are actors, all are lively actors, all deserve respect, and that respect takes the form of long-term and reciprocal relations. That is what it is, this world, a web of unpredictable but respectful encounters.Nuccio Mazzullo and Tim Ingold, “Being Along: Place, Time and Movement among Sámi People,” in Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt and Brynhild Granås (eds), Mobility and Place: Enacting Northern European Peripheries. Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008, pp. 27‒38.
It is a world in which a binary distinction between nature and culture makes no sense.
But there are snags. The first of these comes in the form of climate change. In the subarctic, its consequences are becoming obvious. First, the winters are not as cold as they were and the permafrost is slowly melting. This means that more water is being absorbed into the ground rather than melting and running off in the spring. And then second, more often than in the past, the melt is in any case happening little by little. The result is that the spring melt – if it happens at all – is less dramatic than it was. The consequence is that the lakes are not being scoured of debris to the same extent as in the past. Which makes for more work for people such as Inger Anne and Isak.
But this leads to the second snag. This is that the laws are changing. The Norwegian state and its agencies have become ever more concerned about protecting nature. The result is that it is no longer easy – indeed, in some instances it is no longer possible – for Sámi people to care well for the lakes in which they fish. These laws work against this both directly and indirectly. For instance, it is no longer legal to clear away driftwood. The reasoning is that in the wilderness it is wrong to interfere with the workings of nature. Such is an example of a direct prohibition. But there are also many indirect rules that also impact lake care. You need a permit to fish. You can only fish between certain dates and in certain places. You can’t use off-road vehicles after the spring thaw until July 1st. Exceptions aside, you can only use off-road vehicles on stipulated trails. The rationale for all these rules is the same: nature is in need of protection from human activity. But they all work to make caring for the lakes more difficult. So, and to state the obvious, if you can’t get to a lake then you can’t look after it. And, less obviously, if you are barred from using off-road vehicles until July 1st then it gets more difficult to clear the sedge early in the growing season when it is much more easily uprooted. And the rules are not idle: thinly populated though the plateau is, both the Statens Naturoppsyn (the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate) and the Reinpolitiet (the Reindeer Police) are there and they seek to enforce those rules.

Conclusion
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Land and Lake.

There is much more that might be said. But what general conclusions can we draw from these stories about people, land, and lakes? Three answers.
Politically it is clear that Sámi practices are being squeezed by a powerful state. Yes, in principle Sámi have been recognized as an indigenous people in Norway since the end of the 1980s. Indeed, in some measure those principles have led to changes in practice. But only in some measure. So while in principle Sámi understandings of the environment are included in management schemes, in practice this happens poorly or not at all. Traditional ecological knowledge sits outside management, and more often than not it is in conflict with it. The harsh conclusion is that in important respects the situation in Sápmi is still colonial rather than postcolonial.
Practically it is clear that Sámi practices for living in and with land and water are being squeezed. Reindeer herding, salmon fishing in rivers, duck hunting, sea fishing, all are under continuing pressure. These pressures come from various sources. Conservation policies affect reindeer herding, hunting, and fishing. Increasing industrial and tourist demands for land are particularly harmful for reindeer herding and for Sámi people living off the land, sea, and lakes. And policies that enshrine urban understandings about nature as wilderness affect a wide range of Sámi practices including fishing and, once again, reindeer herding. Whether this cocktail of policies means that Norway is in breach of its international obligations to its indigenous people is a matter for discussion. But one thing is certain: the sustained squeeze on Sámi practices for caring for lakes and rivers and other actors in the environment is in the process of choking a form of ecological knowledge that has worked sustainably in a fragile environment for at least a millennium and probably for far longer. To put it gently, in present global circumstances this seems unwise.
And this leads us to our third point. This has to do with ontology. As we have tried to show above, Sámi fishing practices both are embedded in and help reproduce a web of respectful and reciprocal relations between lively actors.The same argument can be made for such other Sámi practices as reindeer herding, berry picking, bladder sedge cutting, duck and moose hunting, and salmon fishing.
Those actors – lakes, the weather, the moon, a stone that is a sieidi – are powerful and they act in ways that can neither be entirely predicted nor controlled. They also come indifferently in a range of forms. Human, non-human, or super-human: distinctions between these are not of fundamental significance. What is important is rather the cautious process of maintaining respectful relations. It is only in this way that people can survive in a world filled with powerful actors such as these. This is what the blessings, offerings, and the forms of thanking are about: maintaining those relations. And the clearing of the lakes too. The conclusion is that in this world, facts and values are interwoven; it is a world filled with beings that are lively both physically and morally. And, as we earlier observed, this in turn means that for Sámi people binary distinctions between nature and culture make little sense.
In present Norwegian circumstances, it is not possible to bleach away the asymmetries in power between policy and Sámi traditional knowledge. But even if it were, there would still be a fundamental misunderstanding. This is because technoscience and policy treat with a world that is disenchanted. They assume that disenchantment, and every time they make a claim about the character of the world, they re-enact this and refuse the possibility of the physically and morally lively world of Sámi practice. This means that the misunderstanding is not – or not simply – epistemological, an argument about the best way of knowing reality. It is also ontological, about what there is in the world. In the realities of technoscience there is no space for the lively actors that inhabit the Sámi world. They are denied. They are not possible. The first and most important task is therefore simultaneously political, epistemological, and ontological. It is to cultivate practical ways of recognizing that these worlds are not the same. It is to acknowledge that land and water are actually different. That the Sámi world is indeed a lively world. Only when this has been achieved will it become possible to look for ways of getting on better together in difference.Helen Verran, “Engagements between disparate knowledge traditions: Toward doing difference generatively and in good faith,” in Lesley Green (ed.), Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge. Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2013, pp. 141‒61.


We are grateful to Inger Anne O. Hætta, Isak M. Hætta, and the many traditional knowledge holders who worked with the Árbediehtu (Heritage Knowledge) project. This paper draws on that project which is explored more fully in Liv Østmo, “Naturen som grunnlag for samisk kunnskap og identitet [Nature as the Foundation of Sámi Society and Identity],” in Eivind Falk and Dag Feldborg (eds), Leve kulturarven! Trondheim: Museumsforlaget, 2013, pp. 49‒58. John is grateful to the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo, Norway, which funded and hosted the research project “Arctic Domestication in the Era of the Anthropocene” during the academic year 2015/16. This paper was written with the support of the Centre and the Sámi Allaskuvla (Sámi University of Applied Sciences). We are also grateful to the knowledge holders Johan Henrik Buljo and Anders Persen Siri who have contributed with both their knowledge and wisdom on several occasions and in several projects. If not indicated otherwise, the copyright holder of all pictures is Liv Østmo.