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ISER enhances the well-being of Alaskans and others, through non-partisan research that helps people understand social and economic systems and supports informed public and private decision-making.

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Lunchtime Talk: Globalization Impacts in Northern Finland

Posted on April 18th, 2014

Ms. Rönkä will present research on the impacts of globalization on the lives of pulp mill workers in Northern Finland, city of Kemijärvi. Due to global increases in efficiency of production, pulp mills and factories in Finland were offshored to the global south. Her qualitative study examined how the workers experienced the mill closures and how the closures affected their lives and livelihoods. The research demonstrates that when globalization research is confined to large macro level economic, political and cultural processes, it excludes examination of how the impact of global flows is influenced by the history, culture, and social structure of local contexts. One way to understand complex globalization processes better is to examine them through place-based, lived experiences.

Anna Reetta Rönkä graduated in 2010 with an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities. The UAA Department of Public Health is currently sponsoring Ms. Rönkä as a visiting scholar while she is working on her doctoral research about the experience of loneliness from childhood to adulthood in Northern Finland. Her current research interests include: socio-emotional wellbeing and health in circumpolar societies, gendered experiences of loneliness, and social isolation. Her affiliations are Women´s and Gender Studies, Faculty of Education and Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu Finland.

When: Friday, April 25, 12 to 1 p.m.
Where: ISER conference room, fifth floor, Diplomacy Building

Participate remotely over web or call (907) 786-6755, Conference ID: 475905.

Lunchtime Talk: Navigating at a double crossroads: The role of subsistence in the wellbeing of Dena’ina Athabascan youth

Posted on April 11th, 2014

Jennifer Shaw, PhD (Case Western Reserve, 2013) is a Senior Researcher at Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, where she conducts research on youth suicide prevention, healthcare decision-making, and the development of culturally grounded health services. Her research interests are in medical anthropology, social determinants of health, and cross-cultural childhood and adolescence.

She will talk about the role of subsistence in the well-being of Dena’ina Athabascan youths growing up in Southwestern Alaska. How do subsistence and other cultural activities fit into the lives and aspirations of contemporary Dena’ina youths living in rural Alaska? What factors impede or facilitate their ability to achieve these aspirations in the transition to adulthood? Dr. Shaw conducted an ethnographic case study with 19 youths in one Dena’ina village, which showed that despite concerns about Alaska Native youths’ commitment to culture, this group deeply identifies with their tradition and aspires to continue these activities into adulthood, despite significant obstacles in their paths.

When: Friday, April 18, 12 to 1 p.m.
Where: ISER conference room, fifth floor, Diplomacy Building

Participate remotely over web or call (907) 786-6755, Conference ID: 475905.

Lunchtime Talk: Post-growth societies, education systems, and differentiation

Posted on April 4th, 2014

Reinhold Sackmann, Dr. rer.pol. habil., is Full Professor for Sociology, Dynamic Analysis of Social Structure, at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. His fields of research are life course analysis, sociology of education and coping with demographic change.

He’ll talk about how after accelerated population growth in the last two centuries, in a number of European and East Asian countries there are signs of a stagnant, sometimes shrinking population that is getting older and more heterogeneous. What are the effects of this new situation? Is there scope to modify effects of these new trends? Dr. Sackmann conducted a longitudinal data analysis of German school systems from 1995-2010, which shows that demographic change has had a profound effect on the institutional system of the education system, which for a long time was seen as a path dependent system that could not be transformed by political reforms.

When: Friday, April 11, 12 to 1 p.m.
Where: ISER conference room, fifth floor, Diplomacy Building

Participate remotely over web or call (907) 786-6755, Conference ID: 475905.

Lunchtime Talk: Climate, Water, and Energy: Observation and Valuation

Posted on April 3rd, 2014

Jessica Cherry, a research associate professor at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, will discuss the physics and economics of climate impacts on hydropower, as well as valuation of observational systems relating to climate and water, using examples from Scandinavia, Alaska, and California.

Norway has significant observational infrastructure, allowing researchers to see strong connections between precipitation and supply, air temperature and demand, and electricity price and trade volumes. In Southeast Alaska, which has few such observational systems, there are technological challenges in providing geophysical data to hydropower operators, and additional challenges in measuring the value of improved forecasting.

Jessica Cherry holds a PhD in climate physics from Columbia University in New York. This presentation is open to the public, but Dr. Cherry hopes that it will also lead to discussions and potential research relationships with researchers from ISER and other organizations.

Lunchtime Talk: Tskah, xs’waanx–Herring, Herring Roe: Colonialism and the Narrowing of Indigenous Resource Utilization

Posted on April 2nd, 2014

Historically and into the present day, herring and herring roe (tskah and xs’waanx) have provided the Tsimshian people of British Columbia with a range of food resources, both the fish itself—fresh, dried, or smoked—and the roe in several forms. But indigenous use has narrowed since the arrival of non-indigenous peoples. In this talk, Charles Menzies, a professor of social anthropology at the University of British Columbia, will describe the causes and implications of this narrowing of herring use among the Tsimshian, discussing the topic through archaeological, ethnographic, and indigenous-knowledge approaches.

Dr. Menzies was formerly a commercial fisherman, and his research is predominantly fisheries-related, involving both indigenous and non-indigenous communities on the north coast of British Columbia. He also produces and directs documentary films, primarily about fishing communities.

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To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey

To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey

Available for ordering now, with October 2012 publication date. To Russia with Love: An Alaskan's Journey, by Victor Fischer, with Charles Wohlforth.

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund was established at ISER in 2011 to encourage young scholars and promote research opportunities in Alaska. It honors the memory of George Rogers, an economist and guiding light of ISER for half a century.

Donate to the fund.
George Rogers

Alaska Native Language Map A digital edition of the map, Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska, is now available. It is a joint project of the Alaska Native Language Center and ISER, based on ground-breaking Alaska Native language maps created by Michael E. Krauss in 1974 and 1982. Printed copies are available from ANLC.

An interactive version is also available on ISER's Alaskool website.

Download an informational flyer about the Indigenous People and Languages of Alaska map.
Gateways Globe


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