Ecologising History: Loss, Memory and Landscape Temporalities

Culture emerges through the unfolding of interspecies relations, involving and sometimes also transforming landscapes, people and non-human species.

Image may contain: Sky, Cloud, Water, Plant, Natural landscape.

The Pasvik River: Svanhovd is situated near the Pasvik river, which marks the border between Norway and Russia, and has sustained multiple life-forms for thousands of years. Photo: Marianne Lien.

This course constitutes SOSANT9100A/B Recent Theory in Anthropology for autumn 2022 (5 ECTS).

In this PhD course, we gather at the research station Svanhovd in the Pasvik valley in Finnmark, Norway. The Pasvik valley is a region marked by multiple forms of loss, and with a deep and layered history still resonating in landscape, material artefact and human memory, as well as a rich archive.

Drawing on insight from anthropology, archeology and environmental humanities, we approach this site together as an experimental interdisciplinary site. Approaching landscapes as archives, and archival material as a point of entry into landscape relationality, the aim of the course is to enhance ethnographic and theoretical skills through practical attention in landscapes and in archives.

We will use our collaborative investigations in and of the landscape and the archive to collectively develop analytical frameworks and ethnographic practices that attend to the materiality, traces and silences of loss (cultural, linguistic, environmemtal, infrastructural). Emphasis is placed on attention in the field as well as in writing, and on the role of artefacts and images in thinking ethnographically about absences and presences in various fieldsites. 

The course is part of the Ecological Globalisation research school at the Department of Social Anthropology, and seeks to enhance both theoretical, interdisciplinary and ethnographic skills, in a hands-on and explorative manner. While seeking to address a gap in anthropological training, it is also relevant for environmental humanities, archeology, human geography, environmental history and science studies.

We invite participants with an interest in landscape temporalities, in the Nordic Arctic and elsewhere.

Course Instructors

Teaching will be done collaboratively by Laura Ogden (Dartmouth College), Ursula Münster (Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Oslo), Thóra Pétursdóttir (Department of Archeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo), and Marianne Lien (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo). Professor Marianne Lien, Department of Social Anthropology is responsible for the course.

Accomodation and travels

Full accommodation for all PhD participants at Svanhovd Research Center will be covered by the research school. This includes local transport between the research school and Kirkenes airport, as well as local excursions in the Pasvik valley. Travels to and from Kirkenes will be covered by PhD participants through their own funding.


Within two months after the course, participants submit their written essay for evaluation. Essay length: 6-7000 Words +/- 10 percent, including footnotes.

Full participation (and pass) equals 5 credits.

You may part take in the course without submitting an essay without being awarded the 5 credits. Please inform the Department when you apply if you wish to participate in the course without submitting an essay. 


This course is open to PhD candidates in social anthropology or other related disciplines. Candidates on the programme track in social anthropology at the University of Oslo will have priority as SOSANT9100A/B is obligatory in the programme.

Please apply via this webform by 1 May 2022.


Published Jan. 28, 2022 10:40 AM - Last modified Jan. 28, 2022 11:15 AM