Hunting for Hope: New Perspectives on the History of Game and Fish Management Workshop 

Hunting for Hope: New Perspectives on the History of Game and Fish Management Online Workshop 

For ZOOM Link please register HERE by Nov 8. You will receive the ZOOM link an hour before the event.

Historians have devoted a great deal of attention to the history of hunting and fishing. Yet, as this session shows, many of the assumptions that have driven those histories merit investigation. This session thus unites five papers that reframe the history of game and fish management in new ways, despite offering divergent approaches to the subject. In the first paper, Erki Tammiksaar draws on the rich fishery survey data of Lake Peipsi, stretching from Karl Ernst von Baer’s famed 1851-1852 expedition to the present day, to assess changes in the lake’s fish population over time, connecting those shifts to a number of factors, including climate change. Victoria Peemot centers her attention on the 1917 Finnish Geological Expedition to Uriankhai, approaching it as a multispecies venture in which the human participants paid a great deal of attention to game.In her paper, Anastasia Fedotova explores the reasons for the preservation of European red deer during the long nineteenth century in regions where the kind of intensive agriculture that would typically explain its extinction were still practiced. Drew Swanson takes a different approach in his study of white-tailed deer in the United States, turning his focus to the cultural construction of hunting regulations. In his case, American hunters internalized early efforts to protect does to the degree that many came to see bucks as the only ethical game—an attitude that proved difficult to undo and that contributed to mid-twentieth century population irruptions. Mark Hersey also looks at the unanticipated consequences of wildlife management in the US, underscoring the ways in which efforts to preserve wildlife took a distinctive regional form, one that problematizes assessments of success and failure. 


Anastasia Fedotova, Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Science; Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki University

Mark D. Hersey, Mississippi State University, Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki

Victoria Soyan Peemot, University of Helsinki

Drew Swanson, Wright State University

Erki Tammiksaar, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Science Studies

Chair: Mikko Saikku, University of Helsinki


Erki Tammiksaar, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Science

Fish and fishing in Lake Peipsi (Estonia/Russia) since 1851: similarities and differences between historical and modern times

The first survey data on the fisheries in Lake Peipsi were collected by Baltic German natural scientist Karl Ernst von Baer as a result of the world’s first special fishery expedition in 1851–1852. In the current presentation, all available numerical datasets on fishing in Lake Peipsi from 1851 to 2018 have been drawn together in order to analyse the long-term changes in the lake’s fish assemblages. As the study indicates, the overexploitation, catching of juvenile fish and predator–prey imbalance have been common problems associated with fisheries in Lake Peipsi for the last two centuries. Similar to many inland waterbodies worldwide, total catch of fish from Lake Peipsi has decreased about four times since the mid-19th century, and the decline of cool-water fish, such as vendace, burbot and Peipsi whitefish during the last two centuries, and the domination of warm-water fish, such as Eurasian perch, common bream and pike-perch in the catches of the last 20 years mark considerable structural shifts in fish assemblages. Of the multiple stressors (e.g., nutrient enrichment, increased water temperature, overfishing) triggering shifts in fish assemblages, the impact of climate warming, especially extreme weather events such as heatwaves, seems to be the strongest during the last three decades.

Victoria Soyan Peemot, University of Helsinki

A Geological Expedition As The Multispecies Venture 

This study investigates a history of the human-nonhuman animal relationships drawing on the archival materials—photographs, diaries and publications—which were gathered and produced by the past scientific expeditions. I focus on the archive of the 1917 Finnish Geological Expedition to Uriankhai (currently—the Tyva Republic, Russia) and the region where the Finnish researchers worked—the Sayan and Altay Mountains of Inner Asia. Numerous photographs and observations which feature domesticated and wild animals allow me to approach the historical expedition as the multispecies venture.  

In addition to numerous observations about their main means of transportation—riding and pack horses—Finnish researchers paid attention to, for instance, farming the red deer (Cervus elaphus sibiricus) in the Upper Yenisey river region, frequent wolf attacks, diversity of wild species and, in particular, game. The latter was mentioned in frames of hunting (one of the expedition members was tasked with securing fresh meat supplies) and visits to local households where researchers were often offered meat of a game animal. The 1917 expedition’s archive is the important source on a history of multispecies relationships in Inner Asia because in the following decades the major geopolitical, social, and economic transformations took place in the region. These transformations drastically affected human-nonhuman relationships too.  

Maralhjortar 14.9. 1917

The red deer in the enclosure (the Kaa-Khem river region, the Tyva Republic). 14.9.1917. Photograph by Kenneth Wrede.

Red deer and Russian aristocracy in the long 19th century

Anastasia Fedotova, Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Science; Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki University in cooperation with Dr Tomasz Samojlik, Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża

The thesis that populations of big animals were the first to become extinct due to agricultural colonization is a common ground for the history of conservation. In our project, we would like to consider how some species of big mammals still survived even in regions with intensive agriculture and a relatively high population. We offer to use the case of a relatively common species – red deer. In the lowland forests of Central and Eastern Europe this species was on the brink of extinction in the long 19th century. It survived not due to “primeval” refugiums but due to the prestige of big game hunts among the higher aristocracy. Creation of deer parks and other protected hunting grounds by the highest aristocracy had several consequences: (1). Preservation of some species in the region. (2). Preservation of landscapes – close to “primeval” but with many “cultural” elements. Some of those places successfully evolved into national parks and other types of protected areas. (3). Introduction of animals from other regions resulted in mixing of genetic lines of distant populations. (4). Accumulation of scientific data and scientific collections on ungulates. The main focus of our study is red deer in Białowieża Primeval Forest where this species went extinct by the mid-18th century. In the 1860s, red deer were successfully reintroduced, first with 20 deer from a game park in Silesia, and later from other places. On the eve of WWI, Białowieża red deer population reached more than 5 000.

Drew Swanson, Wright State University

Legal Deer and Real Men: Buck Laws, Doe Hunts, and the Contested Ethics of Sportsmanship in the Twentieth-Century United States

As white-tailed deer, once among the most abundant big-game animals in North America, faced near extinction in the late-nineteenth century, public and private conservationists implemented measures to save and then restore their populations.  In many states buck laws—regulations that permitted killing only mature, male deer—were an important part of conservation initiatives, as were campaigns to convince hunters that only bucks were ethical game.  When whitetail populations quickly rebounded between the 1920s and 1950s, game managers turned to either-sex and doe hunts in an effort to control or prevent irruptions, only to face stiff opposition from hunters of all classes.  Hunters had internalized arguments about the ethics and sportsmanship of the buck laws, and resisted redefinition of proper game management.  This history highlights the cultural construction of ethical game management and the unanticipated ways in which wildlife often respond to management, and rejects simplistic class-based understandings of American sportsmanship in the twentieth century.

Drew Swanson is a professor of history at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio.  He is the author of three books on the intersections of nature and culture in the U.S. South, most recently Beyond the Mountains: Commodifying Appalachian Environments.  He currently serves as President of the Agricultural History Society

Mark Hersey, Mississippi State University, Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies, University of Helsinki

American Deerscape: Toward a Landscape History of Hunting

Once hunted to the brink of extirpation, whitetail deer (valkohäntäpeura) have made a remarkable recovery in the American South, one that has been understandably celebrated by wildlife ecologists. Scholars of hunting in the United States have noted the recovery in passing, but have tended to gloss over the wildlife itself. Their focus instead has centered on the role of hunters in the conservation movement, especially on the sometimes-undemocratic impulses hunting fostered. Both wildlife ecologists and historians, however, have paid considerably less attention to the ways in which the recovery of whitetail deer has materially altered the physical landscape itself. Taking a somewhat longue durée snapshot of hunting in a quintessentially southern American state, this paper explores the ways in which hunting reshaped the natural world of Alabama over the course of the twentieth century – and in so doing amplified and reoriented the identities bound up in those landscapes.


This panel thanks the support of the Helsinki Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities 

Listening to Atmospheric Encounters

Listening to Atmospheric Encounters – An evening on high altitudes
2 November 2021, 19:00-20:30 at SOLU Space
(Luotsikatu 13, Katajanokka, Helsinki, Finland)
On November, 2nd from 19h to 20h30, HAB artists Noora Sandgren and Till Bovermann warmly welcome you to an evening of soundscapes and discussions in relation to the Atmospheric Encounters exhibition. We will start the evening with a guided tour through the exhibition and the opportunity to dive into the politics of approaching Other-than-humans. This will be followed by a soundscape performance with Till Bovermann, framing and extending on “flock” (H. Imlach/T. Bovermann), one of the artworks in the exhibition.
Listening to Atmospheric Encounters is related to the current exhibition Atmospheric Encounters by High Altitude Bioprospecting (HAB).
Noora Sandgren is a visual artist working with photography and related installation, texts and embodied practice. She is interested in the theme of fluidity, different materialities and questions of entanglement. Noora collaborates with weather, insects, soil and outdated light-sensitive materials.
Till Bovermann is an artist and scientist working with field recordings and interactive sound programming to create sonic experiences of immersion and reflection. Till currently works for the art-science project Rotting Sounds at University for Applied Arts, Vienna. He is also part of the artistic collective friendly.organisms.



17 NOVEMBER (WEDNESDAY) 18:00-19:30 (HELSINKI) 11:00-12:30 (NEW YORK)

For ZOOM Link please register HERE by November 16. You will receive the ZOOM link an hour before the event.

This session features contributors to the recent anthology of poetry and commentary, Poetics for the More-Than-Human World. Six scholar/poets/artists will read from recent poetic works representing a diversity of voice, place, and connections between human and non-human communities at this time of imminent danger pressing for change. There will be time for conversation. Featuring Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Joseph Bruchac, Cheryl J. Fish, Juan Carlos Galeano, Hanna Ellen Guttorm, and Mary Newell.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently, A Treatise on Stars (New Directions) and Hello, the Roses (New Directions), which has been translated into Swedish by Ana Jaderland.  She received Bollingen Prize in 2021 and was short-listed for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.  She has collaborated with artists in visual arts, theater, music and dance.  She lives in northern New Mexico.

Joseph Bruchac is an enrolled member of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation. Author of over 170 books in several genres, his poems, essays, and stories have appeared in hundreds of anthologies and magazines ranging from Akwesasne Notes and Parabola to the Paris Review and National Geographic. His books of poetry include: Ndakinna/Our Land, Nisnol Siboal/Two Rivers, and Four Directions, New and Recollected Poems.

Cheryl J. Fish is an environmental justice scholar, poet, and fiction writer. Her new book of poem and photographs, THE SAUNA IS FULL OF MAIDS, celebrates Finnish sauna culture, travel, and friendships. She has published essays on resistance to extractivism in Sápmi, focused on the work of Sami filmmakers and photographers. Fish has been a writer-in-residence at KulttuuriKauppila in Ii, Finland, and was Fulbright professor at University of Tampere. Her collection of poetry, Crater & Tower, addresses trauma, ecology, and aftermaths at Mount St. Helens Volcano and the World Trade Center since 9-11-01. She is professor of English at BMCC/City University of New York, and docent lecturer in the Dept. of Cultures at University of Helsinki.

Juan Carlos Galeano is a poet, essayist and filmmaker born in the Amazon region of Colombia. He has published several books of poetry and has translated the works of North American poets into Spanish. Over a decade of fieldwork on symbolic narratives of riverine and forest people in the Amazon basin resulted in his production of a comprehensive collection of storytelling (Folktales of the Amazon, ABC-CLIO, 2009) translated into several languages, the documentary film (The Trees Have a Mother, Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2009), and most recently, last summer, El Río, 2018. His poetry inspired by Amazonian cosmologies and the modern world has been anthologized and published in international journals.

Hanna Ellen Guttorm, is widely interested in life and its possibilities on our planet. She is especially inspired by Indigenous ontologies, post theories, and nomadic, autoethnographic writing, with which she investigates–especially in the context of the Sámi society and her own roots–how we could do and write research in order to make a change towards a more ecological, social and cultural sustainability and solidarity possible. Currently she works as senior researcher in Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki, also affiliated to HELSUS (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Studies).

Mary Newell authored the chapbooks TILT/ HOVER/ VEER (Codhill Press 2019) and Re-SURGE  (Trainwreck Press 2021), poems in journals and anthologies, and essays including “When Poetry Rivers” (Interim journal). She is co-editor of Poetics for the More-than-Human-World: An Anthology of Poetry and Commentary and the forthcoming (2022) Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics.


Storying with Land: Tracing Environmental and Societal Changes in the Sayan and Altay Mountains, Inner Asia

Storying with Land: Tracing Environmental and Societal Changes in the Sayan and Altay Mountains, Inner Asia

Talk by Victoria Soyan Peemot, University of Helsinki

23 November 2021, TUE, 14:00-15:30 (Helsinki)

LOCATION: PORTHANIA 244 HELSUS LOUNGE, University of Helsinki 

For ZOOM Link please register HERE by November 22. You will receive the ZOOM link an hour before the event.

This research project explores stories of land in the Sayan and Altay Mountains, Inner Asia. Since the beginning of the twentieth century the region has been controlled, subsequently, by the Qing Empire, Russian Empire, and Soviet Russia. Currently the region is situated between Mongolia, Russia, and China. As a starting point, I draw on the archive of the 1917 Finnish Geological Expedition to Uriankhai (currently—the Tyva Republic, Russia). As the second temporal frame for comparative studies, I investigate community-homeland relationships and circulation of land stories in present-day Russia at the intersection of the state’s mining regulations and politics of memory. I investigate the potential of landscapes in keeping, sharing, and ensuring continuity of human-nonhuman stories.

Photo C-124_Pehrman

Voronin at the gold mines. 10.8.1917. Photo by Gunnar Pehrman (1895-1980), geologist.

The photograph was taken in the Kaa-Khem river region, the Tyva Republic.



Victoria Soyan Peemot is a journalist, ethnographer, and Ph.D. student in cultural studies at the University of Helsinki. Her research is supported by the Kone Foundation (2018-2021). Raised by her grandparents in the Tyva Republic, she spent her youth riding horses and herding livestock on the Inner Asian steppe. She takes a critical approach to these experiences in her doctoral research, which examines the complexity of bonds connecting horses and herders in the Sayan-Altai Mountain Region of Russia and Mongolia. Victoria will defend her doctoral dissertation entitled ‘The Horse in My Blood: Land-Based Kinship in the Sayan and Altay Mountains, Inner Asia’ in December 2021.

In her postdoctoral research project Victoria draws on Indigenous and academic epistemologies—storying with landscapes, analysing archival materials, and studying history of mining and its impact— to trace environmental and societal changes in the region.

Victoria co-authored a series of essay films “Cher Törel: In Kinship with the Land” about how people relate to their animals and homelands in Inner Asia in collaboration with Dr Robert O. Beahrs from the Center for Advanced Research in Music, Istanbul Technical University.

Photo by Stanislav Krupar (published with the author’s permission).

Fulbright Bicentennial Inaugural Lecture by Mark Hersey, Mississippi State University, University of Helsinki

5 November 2021, FRI, 16:15- (Helsinki), 15:15- (Paris)

Fulbright Bicentennial Inaugural Lecture by Mark Hersey, Mississippi State University, University of Helsinki

Black Belt Sketches: Ecology and Identity in the American South

Mark D. Hersey


Register by November 2 at



Although it is hardly one of North America’s most celebrated landscapes, the physiographic Black Belt of the American South offers an uncommonly productive place to explore the historical intersections of nature and culture. Drawing on examples from the region’s environmental history over the longue durée, this talk explores the often-surprising junctures of land use, race, and poverty in the Black Belt. In doing so, it calls attention to the ways in which cultural identities have been cobbled onto and read out of the material world and aims to spur an appreciation for the landscapes of ostensibly ordinary places.


Mark D. Hersey is the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair of American Studies for the 2021-2022 academic year. He is associate professor of history at Mississippi State University where he directs the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment of the South. He is the author of My Work Is That of Conservation: An Environmental Biography of George Washington Carver (2011) and the co-editor of A Field on Fire: The Future of Environmental History (2019). He currently edits the journal Environmental History.

CONSUMPTION DISPARITY The Elephant in the COP26 Room Professor David Ness, University of South Australia


The Elephant in the COP26 Room

Professor David Ness, University of South Australia


Meeting ID: 659 9793 6146
Passcode: 507776

COP26 aims to agree on GHG emission reduction targets to limit temperature rise to 1.5o. However, if attention remains completely focused on renewables and energy efficiency, this ambition is unlikely to be achieved. As emphasised by Dr Yamina Saheb, lead author of IPCC WGIII on climate change mitigation, the focus needs to shift to sufficiency, within a fair consumption space for all: “…on empowering the Global South and on making the case for climate justice and equity considerations”.


This is not new. During the 1990s, pioneers of the Factor 10 Institute realised that the key issue at stake was unbalanced consumption on a global level, with 80% of the world’s resources being consumed by the wealthiest 20% of humanity – represented by the ‘champagne glass’ of disparity. They called for a Factor 10 rebalancing in consumption patterns, which would not only enable fair and equal access to resources, but also dramatically reduce emissions and biodiversity loss.


Against this background, the talk will explain ways and metrics by which resource disparities may be rebalanced. This necessitates a ‘shrinking’ in demand and consumption by wealthier, well-endowed societies of the Global North, making better use of what they have, while the deprived of the South may ‘expand’ their services, shelter, and infrastructure. A conceptual model will be presented, seeking to enable a social foundation for all within an ecological ceiling.


While discussing what 1.5o fair and sufficient lifestyles may entail, including food, transport, and personal goods, particular attention will be paid to the built environment sector, which consumes most natural resources and emits most carbon. Reference will be made to the speaker’s recent book about ‘The impact of overbuilding on people and the planet’, and its ramifications for a shift in focus at COP26.

Building Communities of Academics and Stakeholders to Address Climate Change

1st of November, 14:00-16:00 in HKL, 13:00-15:00 in Paris

Building Communities of Academics and Stakeholders to Address Climate Change

With Prof. Em. Carole Crumley, Executive Director of the History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE), University of North Carolina/ Uppsala University


See further information on our series in the DbW blog:

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Marine archaeologists and historical ecologists can find much common ground in the race to mitigate climate change and catastrophic disruptions in both the Earth system and for humanity.  The talk will examine shared professional origins and an expanding common toolbox.  In dialogue, we can explore the means by which our mutual understandings can be transmitted to stakeholders, managers, and policy makers. 

Carole Crumley is a founding scientist in the area of historical ecology and has written the first text book in this subject, Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes (1994). Carole Crumley’s special areas of interest are epistemology of complex adaptive systems, especially as regards human societies; “Two Cultures”  (science/humanities) problems in inter- and transdisciplinary research; integrated global- to local-scale historical ecology; historical climate change; evolution of landscapes; social inequality; social memory; geomatics (e.g., GIS, RS) applications in anthropology, ecology, and planning. Her research interests focus on Western Europe, where she directs a long-running research project (1975-present), and pursued with her students, in Burgundy, France.  The research traces the history of agriculture and industry in a key European region over a three thousand year period, using archaeology, historical documents and maps, ethnography, and environmental data in a GIS database.  The project’s ethnographic component is large, and is focused on the practice of contemporary agro-pastoralism in the contexts of a rapidly changing global market and a complex regulatory environment (e.g., the EU Common Agricultural Policy, French regulations).

Carole is also Executive Director of the international project Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE), which uses a complex systems framework and the tools of historical ecology to integrate knowledge of past human societies with knowledge of past biophysical conditions.  This integrated analysis enables modeling old-and-new possibilities for a sustainable planetary and human future. IHOPE is a global network of researchers and research projects; its International Program Office (IPO) is based at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Images: courtesy of Carole Crumley


  • Host: Veronica Walker Vadillo

Reconceptualizing China’s Environmental Challenges Online Seminar

Reconceptualizing China’s Environmental Challenges Online Seminar 

For ZOOM Link please register HERE by Nov 15. You will receive the ZOOM link an hour before the event.

Date: Tuesday 16 November, 13:00-14:30 Helsinki Time (12:00-13:30 Prague Time; 11:00-12:30 London Time)


In this seminar, we seek to examine China’s environmental challenges from new perspectives. Alicia Ng will delve into China’s soil pollution regulations and circular economy efforts through the bioremediation of electronic waste pollution. Bioremediation is a depollution method that uses plants and microbes and has been employed at chemically polluted sites in China. This investigation will explore the limits of mainstream sustainability thinking and introduce contemporary concepts that aim to recognize sustainability within ontologies of ecological entanglement.

Eero Suoranta will explore how Han Song’s short story Submarines (2014) uses science fictional estrangement to ask questions related to the Anthropocene and alienation from nature in a contemporary Chinese context. He will argue that rather than calling for a simple “return to nature,” the story treats the very categories of “natural” and “human” as ambiguous, raising complex and pertinent questions about our relationships with the natural environment and with other human beings.

Lastly, Dušica Ristivojević will turn to China’s presence in Serbia, a country in Europe’s periphery, looking at Chinese investments in dirty industries and the numerous local responses to them. Questions to be addressed are as follows: What happens when Chinese investors receive a warm welcome from a government on the fringes of Europe? How are Chinese companies introduced to the local inhabitants? What are the local responses to this “ironclad” friendship and the presence of Chinese investors celebrated by the party elites?


Moderator: Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies


Alicia Ng is a PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary environmental sciences program (DENVI) at the University of Helsinki. Her research is concentrated on electronic waste (e-waste) in China, specifically bioremediation techniques to investigate non-human interactions amongst media and soil ecologies. 

Eero Suoranta is a PhD candidate in the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Society at the University of Helsinki, focusing on alienation in contemporary Chinese science fiction (SF) literature.

Dušica Ristivojević is Kone Foundation Bold Initiatives Senior Researcher at the University of Helsinki. Dušica works in the areas of interdisciplinary Chinese studies, media studies, and international relations. 


Anna Lora-Wainwright is Professor of the Human Geography of China at School of Geography and the Environment, jointly appointed by the School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA) at Oxford University.  

Erik Mo Welin is PhD candidate at Department of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Richard Q. Turcsanyi is a program director at Central European Institute of Asian Studies, Palacky University Olomouc, and assistant professor at Mendel University in Brno.