In 2010, the Arctic Social Studies research program was established at the EUSP Department of Anthropology within the EUSP Professorship in Arctic Social Studies. In addition to research, it also resulted in the establishment of the educational program on Arctic Social Studies and several completed research projects.
In 2016, the program was transformed into the Center for Arctic Social Studies (CESIS).
What's our perception of Arctic Social Studies?
We define the Arctic Social Studies (североведение in Russian) at CESIS as an integrated and interdisciplinary research area. Having emerged in Russia (most notably in St. Petersburg) in the late 19th century and having been steadily developing until the late 1920s, this field is fragmented nowadays; it has been split into ethnographic, linguistic, human geography, and other research tasks. The Arctic scholars are dissociated. One of the objectives of CESIS is to tackle this dissociation and to revive Arctic Studies as an interdisciplinary field.
We define the Arctic quite broadly here: it's an integrated set of all areas traditionally classified as High North, Russian North, Siberia, Far East, Alaska, Greenland, Canadian Arctic, Arctic States etc. CESIS has its main research focus on the Russian Arctic and the Russian High North.
Analyzing this region's diverse life aspects, we put emphasis on the modern times, not the past; and on its entire population, not only indigenous peoples. We use interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to analyze the events of the past and the present; and these are assessed in close connection to the neighboring areas — Scandinavia, Alaska, Japan, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan etc.
CESIS focuses on the modern social processes of the North: ethnic and linguistic, socio-demographic, religious, political (including cross-border), and economic ones.
Main activities of the Center
- Carrying out the Arctic Studies master's program. Expansion of topics and curriculum development, attracting new lecturers;
- Conducting the advanced training program Russian Arctic: Social Aspects of Development;
- Continuation of Summer School programs in cooperation with the University of Vienna and the Arctic Center of the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi), as well as with the University of Tyumen;
- Research activities, including preparing and publishing research papers, organizing and planning conferences;
- Preparing preprints for the textbook Introduction to the Study of Siberia and the Arctic and working on its publication;
- Holding the regular Siberian Seminar;
- Creating a permanent network of contacts with peer research bodies, both in Russia and abroad.
Since 2013, European University represented by CESIS is a member of the UArctic network. CESIS researchers Valeria Vasilyeva and Andrian Vlakhov served as UArctic Student Ambassadors during 2014-2017. In 2016–2017 Andrian Vlahov was also a UArctic Board of Governors member.
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