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Understanding The North: The Global Heritage of Castrén
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12/2/2013 to 12/4/2013
When: 12/2/2013
Where: University of Lapland

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This International Conference is dedicated to the bicentenary of the birth of Matthias Alexander Castrén (1813, Tervola -1852, Helsinki), pioneer of Finno-Ugric Linguistic and Ethnography. He did extensive linguistic and ethnological fieldworks in Lapland and White Sea Karelia with Elias Lönnrot, and, alone, in Northern Russia and Siberia. He was strongly interested in mythology, was the first to translate the Old Kalevala into Swedish and he lectured on Finno-Karelian epic at the University of Helsinki. The presentations deal with the researches of Castrén itself and his impressive legacy in several scientific fields. The speeches will give a large overview on relevant contemporary scholarship about Finno-Ugric, Sámi, Siberian and Arctic languages, cultures, religions, mythologies and lifestyle.

Institutions involved:

City of Rovaniemi, University of Lapland, Arctic Centre, Society for Northern Ethnography, The Sámi Archives, The Sámi Education Institute, Institute for Northern Culture LUC, Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, M.A. Castrén Society, Finno-Ugrian Society, University of Helsinki, University of Turin, Minuksi Society

Information: ,


Monday, 2nd of December 2013

Morning Session 10:30-12:30

Northern Ethnography Days 2013: The Legacy of Castrén – Part 1

10:30-11:15 Jelena Porsanger: Opening of the Conference Understanding the North

11:15-12:00 Risto Pulkkinen: M.A. Castrén: Life, researches and expeditions

12:00-12:45 Tapani Salminen: M. A. Castrén as a discoverer and explorer of ethnolinguistic diversity

Afternoon Session 13:45-17:45

Folk Beliefs Day 2013 - Finnish-Italian Forum on Bear Rituals,

Siberian and Finno-Ugric Mythology

Presentations and discussions

13:45-14.30 Vesa Matteo Piludu: Songs and Spells of Finnish and Karelian Bear Rituals

14:30-15:30 Caterina Agus (keynote speaker): Bear Lore in Western Alps: Carnivals, Masks and Saints

15:30-15:50 Eija Tarkkiainen: Finnic Myths and their Femenine Dimension: a Bridge for Social Transformation in Italy

15:50-16:15 break


Film presentation: Voyages beyond – Matkoja Tuonpuoliseen (2013, 60’) a film by Hannu Kahakorpi about Juha Pentikäinen’s Exhibition at Arktikum Museum. In Finnish, Presentation in English by Juha Pentikäinen


Related Event: "Den enslige Vandraren",

Lieder-music inspired on a Swedish Poem of M.A. Castrén

Timo Kotilainen (voice) and Emmi Kotilainen (piano).

Presentations in Finnish by Juha Pentikäinen and Esa Tikkala.

Main Library of the City of Rovaniemi

Address: Jorma Eton tie 6

Tuesday, 3rd of December 2013

Morning Session 10:00-12:00

Northern Ethnography Days 2013: The Legacy of Castrén – Part 2

10.00-11.00 Juha Pentikäinen (keynote speaker): Pioneers of Northern Ethnography: Castrén, Laestadius and Reguly

11:00-11.45 Osmo Pekonen: The French Tradition of Exploration of Siberia

Afternoon Session 13:00-17:00

Northern Ethnography Days 2013 – The Legacy of Castrén – Part 3

13:00-13:45 Anna Stammler-Gossman: Matthias Alexander Castrén: Transcending disciplines and nations in the 19th century

13:45-14:30 Nuccio Mazzullo: Of reindeer and men: an ethnographic account of reindeer herding in Finnish Lapland

Coffe Break: 14:30-15:00

15:00-16:00 Juha Janhunen (keynote lecture): Castrén and his Scholarship in the Focus of Research

16:00-17:00 Film presentation

The Arctic Fires (Arktiset tulet, Les Feux Arctiques, 42’) by Gretta-Garoliina Sammalniemi (2011).

Film about the scientific expedition of a group of French explorers sent off to Lapland by King Louis Philippe I of France in the years 1838-1839. The guide of the expedition was Lars Levi Laestadius, a vicar, who complemented the research work of the French explorers in Lapland by providing his own scientific materials. For this valuable co-operation, King Louis Philippe I rewarded Laestadius with the insignia cross of the French Legion of Honour. The Arctic Fires is a joint production of art and culture students from three separate educational levels (Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, University of Lapland and Vocational College Lappia). The Sámi Education Institute and, as an international co-opetation partner, the University of Versailles were also involve.

Official Trailer and website:

After the Screening: Discussion with Juha Pentikäinen and Hannu Kahakorpi. Event in cooperation with Institute for Northern Culture LUC, Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, The Sámi Education Institute.

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

9:30 – 10:30 Social Program: Guided Tour in the Exhibitions at the Arktikum Museum by Juha Pentikäinen. Appointment in the Entrance Hall of Arktikum (address: Pohjoisranta 4, Rovaniemi)

Morning Session 11:00-12:30

University of Lapland, Yliopistonkatu 8, Rovaniemi Castrén Sali (Castrén Hall)

Indigenous Languages of the Arctic: Experiences of Revitalization

11:00-11:45 Annika Pasanen: Language revitalization from Inari to Taimyr

11:45-12:30 Ulla Aikio-Puoskari (Gáppe Piera Jovnna Ulla): Towards a Language Shift or Revitalization of Sámi Languages? The Role of School in Finland, Norway and Sweden

Afternoon Session 13:30-17:00


Kuobžâ-Piäká Ánná (Anna Morottaja): Getting the native language back: Aanaar Saami adult language education. Methods and experiences


Discussion on Language and Culture revitalization: Experiences around the Arctic

Moderator Suvi Kivela

15:15 -15:45 Coffee break


Film presentation: Uddâsist Šoddâm – Reborn (9’40´´, In Inari Sámi with English subtitles)

by Suvi Kivelä

Presentation of a short documentary film about Inari Sámi language revitalization


Livde, Inari Sámi traditional song style

Concert by Kuobžâ-Piäká Ánná (Anna Morottaja)

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