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Unusual meeting of the Northern Anthropological Seminar


On March 23, the regular Northern Anthropological Seminar of the MAE RAS was held at the Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic, organized as part of the educational program of the exhibition “66°33ʹ Taste of the Arctic”. This meeting adopted an unusual format of the author's excursion “Taste of the Arctic. The path to get on the table”. The guides were staff members of the Kunstkamera: Deputy Director for Research of the MAE RAS Vladimir Davydov and Senior Curator of the Siberian Ethnographic Foundation of the MAE RAS Vasilisa Bobrova. The researchers spoke about the peculiarities of food in the Arctic, relying on their own expedition materials and using photographs from the exhibition.

In the first part of the tour, Vladimir Davydov and Vasilisa Bobrova touched upon the issues of sustenance in the North, transport infrastructure, the economic sphere of the population of Taimyr, Yakutia, Chukotka, thus highlighting the general context in which the Arctic everyday life takes place. Vladimir Davydov revealed the multifunctional role of containers in the Arctic landscapes, acting as "mobile modules" for space exploration, described the organization of the reindeer herders' nomad camp and the relationship between people and animals. Vasilisa Bobrova informed about the ways to exchange food resources in the remote region.

The second part of the tour dealt directly with the methods of obtaining, storing and cooking various types of food. One of the modern trends in the North is the branding of Arctic dishes as ethnic, which can contribute to the development of gastronomic tourism. Landscape and traditional material culture continue to play an important role in cooking. For example, the yaranga, a portable dwelling of the Chukchi, allows you to achieve the required quality of dishes, since the meat cooked in it has an incomparable taste. The indigenous inhabitants of the Far North are able to create many tastes from a meager variety of resources. The region has a fairly similar diet, which is based on a fish and meat ration with variations and the inevitable introduction of modern products, which necessarily include vegetables and fruits. There are shops in the villages where, in addition to essential goods, confectionery, fruits and vegetables are very popular.

After the tour, there was a long discussion of the shared information with the visitors of the seminar, who asked a lot of questions.

The seminar was organized with the support of the project of the Russian Science Foundation "Energy of the Arctic and Siberia: the use of resources in the context of socio-economic and environmental changes" (No. 18-18-00309, leader Vladimir Davydov).