J. G. Granö’s Perception Of The Environment: Sensory Approaches to Landscapes in Western Mongolia


November 24 (Thursday) 14.00-15.30 (Helsinki), live

Victoria Soyan Peemot, PhD Indigenous Studies, University of Helsinki 

Place: University of Helsinki, City Center Campus, Porthania Building, Room P444

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins.

In this paper, I aim to draw attention, first, to the Finnish geographer Johannes Gabriel Granö’s concept of perception of the environment which makes use of senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching (1929 [1997]), and to the ways in which Granö’s ideas are close to current anthropological approaches to the human-nonhuman sociality with an emphasis on embodied experience (Anderson 2000, Willerslev 2007, Ingold 2011, Oehler 2020). Second, I analyse Granö’s multisensory understanding of the environment from the perspective of Indigenous relational epistemology (Salmón 2000, Wilson 2008, Peemot 2021, Virtanen 2022). To do so, I bring in the Indigenous voices—of people who live in the Altai and Sayan Mountainous region of Inner Asia where Granö worked in the 1900s. This study leans on research of J. G. Granö’s archives which are available at the Finnish Literature Society (publications, maps, correspondence, and photographs) and multisensory ethnographic fieldwork in Inner Asia from 2015 to 2022.


“The Tyva-speaking mobile pastoralists’ autumn encampment in the Altai Mountains, western Mongolia, October 2022. J. Granö worked in this area in 1907 and 1909. @author”

Green Karelia: National Parks and Ecotourism in the Republic of Karelia from the 1980s to the 2000s

November 18 (Friday) 10.00-11.30 (Helsinki), hybrid

Place: University of Helsinki, City Center Campus, Porthania Building, Room P444

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins. 

The concept of a national park came to Europe from the United States and quickly became popular in the 20th century. The USSR was no exception: the idea of a national park was copied from the West and first implemented in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1973. The Republic of Karelia became a pilot region in the development of national parks and ecotourism in Russia in the 1990s. However, the Soviet attitude to nature protection differed in many aspects from the European one. The system of protected areas in the USSR assumed numerous restrictions for visitors and nature was protected not for people, but from them. Planned national parks, therefore, were perceived more as an obstacle than as an opportunity.

The transformation of the Soviet and Karelian nature included not only the transition to a new form of protected area (i.e., national parks) but also a new way of consuming nature (i.e., ecotourism), which was supposed to become a part of the economy. The process of transforming nature, despite a successful start in the early 1990s and the foundation of two national parks in the Republic of Karelia, has faced a number of difficulties and contradictions. This presentation reveals the main theses of my dissertation and demonstrates the reasons for the unpopularity of Karelian national parks and the slow development of ecotourism.

Alexander Osipov is a researcher at the Karelian Institute (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu). His licentiate’s thesis on the Civil War in Russian Karelia was defended in 2006 at Petrozavodsk State University (Russia). He completed his doctoral thesis on the environmental history of Russian Karelia in September of this year. His research interests lie under the umbrella of environmental history and include protected areas, ecotourism, human-nature relationship, environmental conflicts and Finnish-Russian border cooperation. He is also interested in the Russian Civil War and Finnish kinship wars. His publications in English, Finnish and Russian include edited collections, a book chapter, a monograph, articles and book reviews.


Animals and/in Soviet Famines in Ukraine. Where Is an Animal in Famine Studies?

November 3 (Thursday) 13.00-14.30 (Helsinki) 12.00-13.30 (CET), online

Animals and/in Soviet Famines in Ukraine. Where Is an Animal in Famine Studies?

Iryna Skubii, Queen’s University

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins.

During the famines, deterioration of the economic and environmental conditions in rural and urban areas lead to the dramatic consequences for people and domestic and wild animals. In Soviet Ukraine, in the years of the famines of 1921–1923, 1932–1933, 1946–1947 as the millions of people were starving and dying so were their animals. Being the instruments of the Soviet collectivization, the excessive grain and fodder requisitions left cattle and household animals without sufficient fodder. As animals suffered from hunger, they were physically exploited as labour force, slaughtered, and caught en masse due to lack of conventional food. Exploring the interconnections and interdependencies of human and animal history during the times of extremes, the presentation invites the audience to think about the history of famines as an interspecies catastrophe.

Starving horse hitched to a hay wagon on the outskirts of Kharkiv. Wienerberger, Alexander. 1933. “Auch die Tiere leiden Hunger, in: ”Die Hungertragödie in Südrussland 1933. Vienna: Diözesanarchiv der Erzdiözese, [1934]. p.4. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636358/data

The Great Cormorant – a Bird Worthy of a Song

Online event on Wednesday 9 November 2022 at 3 p.m.

During the presentation curator Ulla Taipale talks about cormorants, the Baltic Sea and Chorus sinensis and shows audio-visual material exhibited in Pori Art Museum last summer.

Chorus sinensis is an audio-visual choral work dedicated to the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis). It was produced between 2019 and 2022 in the coastal areas of the Bothnian Sea, where human and seabird territories overlap. The work asks: Is the great cormorant worthy of a human song? What will be the great cormorant’s tale told in the future?

Conceived and curated by Ulla Taipale, the piece combines videos, photographs and recordings made by artist Jan Eerala, with a choral composition inspired by the great cormorant written by composer and sound artist Lau Nau. The team includes Karoliina Lummaa, a literary researcher specialising in bird literature; Merja Markkula, a biologist and artist who served as costumier in the project; and the Poseidon choir: Kristina Bakić, Eeva BergrothAnna JussilainenTuija KuoppamäkiAleksi PihkanenSami SiitojokiTeemu SuuntamaaSusanne Ådahl and Iina Ukkonen.

IHME Helsinki organizes the online event open for all in Zoom. Register for it to get the link to Zoom by 9 November 1 p.m.>>

Merimetso – laulun arvoinen

Verkkotapahtuma keskiviikkona 9.11.2022 klo 15.00

Keskiviikkona 9.11.2022 pidettävässä verkkotapahtumassa kuraattori Ulla Taipale kertoo merimetsoista, Itämerestä ja Chorus Sinesis -teoksesta sekä esittää Porin taidemuseossa viime kesänä esillä ollutta audiovisuaalista materiaalia.

Chorus sinensis on merimetsoille (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) omistettu audiovisuaalinen kuoroteos. Se on toteutettu vuosina 2019–22 Selkämeren rannikolla merilintujen ja ihmisten toisiaan sivuavilla reviireillä. Teos kysyy: Onko merimetso ihmisen laulun arvoinen? Millainen tarina merimetsosta huomispäivänä kerrottaisiin?

Ulla Taipaleen ideoimassa ja kuratoimassa teoksessa yhdistyvät taiteilija Jan Eeralan kuvaamat videot, valokuvat ja äänitykset sekä säveltäjä ja äänitaiteilija Lau Naun merimetsoista inspiroitunut sävelteos kuorolle. Työryhmään kuuluvat myös lintukirjallisuuteen erikoistunut kirjallisuudentutkija Karoliina Lummaa ja puvustajan roolissa biologi ja taiteilija Merja Markkula, sekä Poseidon-kuoro: Kristina BakićEeva BergrothAnna JussilainenTuija KuoppamäkiAleksi PihkanenSami SiitojokiTeemu SuuntamaaSusanne Ådahl ja Iina Ukkonen.

IHME Helsinki järjestää kaikille avoimen verkkotapahtuman Zoomissa. Ilmoittaudu mukaan 9.11. klo 13 mennessä saadaksesi linkin Zoomiin >>

Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Planet: Launching the New Bloomsbury Handbook to the Medical-Environmental Humanities

October 30 (Sunday) 18.00-19.00 (Helsinki), 9.00-10.00 (Idaho), online

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins.


Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA; Swarnalatha Rangarajan, IIT Madras, India; and Vidya Sarveswaran, IIT Jodhpur, India


Fazila Derya Agis, Henry Obi Ajumeze, Mita Banerjee, Françoise Besson, Chia-ju Chang, Kathryn Yalan Chang, Kiu-wai Chu, Marcos Colón, Chinonye Ekwueme-Ugwu, Z.Gizem Yilmaz Karahan, Susanne Lettow, Tess Maginess, Jorge Marcone, Animesh Mohapatra, Eric Morel, Chinmay Murali, Raghul V. Rajan, Heather Leigh Ramos, Animesh Roy, John Charles Ryan, Lars Schmeink, Tathagata Som, Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Robin Chen-Hsing Tsai, Sofia Varino, Sathyaraj Venkatesan, Samantha Walton, Maria Whiteman, Nikoleta Zampaki


This book, which appeared in August 2022, aims to bring together two parallel disciplines: the environmental humanities and the medical humanities. Theories of disease, disrepair, treatment, recovery, and health, from various cultures, shed light on literature and other forms of expression concerned with how we understand the relationships between our human bodies and minds and the planet. In the twenty-first century, we must try to understand the mental health implications of climate change, the ecoprecarity caused by increasingly toxic environmental conditions, and the challenges of facing vast, slow processes that jeopardize not only the external world but our own physical safety. The essays in this collection aim to reveal our ecological predicament as a simultaneous threat to human health. This launch event will be an opportunity for contributors to the book to say a few words about their chapters and for other attendees to ask questions and offer insights about the “medical-environmental humanities.”


Small cogs of a big economy: how agricultural waste bristles and hair raised Soviet industry

Tetiana Perga, State Institution “Institute of World History of National Academy of Science of Ukraine”, Volkswagen Foundation Fellow, Heidelberg University, Germany

October 30 (Sunday) 10.00-11.30 (Helsinki), online

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins. 

Various agricultural, industrial, and household wastes played a major role in the formation of the Soviet economy in the 1920s and 1930s. This paper will reveal the role of agricultural waste such as bristles and hair. The author will demonstrate that the brushes and tussles that were made from bristles and hair were small but indispensable “cogs” in the work of Soviet heavy industry, construction, transport, shipbuilding, textile, flour milling, printing and other industries. The author will analyse the technological process of bristle and hair processing, which Soviet engineers constantly tried to improve in order to increase the yield of raw materials and simultaneously minimize the waste of this production. The problems faced by bristle and hair procurers in the USSR during this period due to the lack of livestock waste and the famine of 1932-1933 will be shown. Ways of replacing bristles and hair with domestic and exported plant materials will also be discussed.

Grounding Value in the Anthropocene: Online roundtable with organizers and authors

October 31 (Monday) 15.30-16.30 (Helsinki) 14.30-15.30 (CET), online

Moderation: Simone Schleper (Maastricht University)


Iva Pesa (University of Groningen), Dan Finch-Race (University of Bologna), Nicola Thomas (Lancaster University), Leo Steeds (University of Warwick), Anna Costantino (University of Greenwich), Somayyeh Amiri (Shahid Beheshti University), Alice Cunningham (Artist, Bristol)

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins.

The concept of the Anthropocene confronts us with many questions of value related to the central role of humanity in shaping the planet. It is important to pay attention to what is valued, how, and by whom. However, practices of valuing are not consistent within societies or between them, and different values can even complicate cooperation when it comes to solving environmental and social challenges.

The proposed roundtable brings together authors and organizers of the recently launched website and interdisciplinary, open access educational resource www.groundingvalue.org.

The website presents research on value making in the age of the Anthropocene from around the world for the benefit of students from a range of subject areas. Its aim is to introduce questions of value in the Anthropocene through a series of ‘object lessons’, presented through texts and visuals. Each lesson addresses a distinctive set of value-making practices through engagement with a real or imagined object.

The material on the website was workshopped in November 2021 and shaped by the visual artist Alice Cunningham, thanks to funding from the British Academy and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

We would like to use the roundtable to reflect on the creative process underlying the website’s content (two online workshops with pre- and post-submissions, including ‘object lessons’, multisensory representation exercises guided by Alice Cunningham, and group discussions), as well its potential uses in undergraduate teaching.


EN­VIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES MONTH 2022 consists of 30 events by nearly 100 contributors. The program nearly entirely runs on volunteers’ efforts from October 2022 to December 2022 to celebrate environmental humanities’ diversity and fresh perspectives. Soak in and enjoy the exciting variety of envious perspectives!
With the funds gained we want to buy a decent domain, pay work hours and honoraria.
If you like what you see, please contribute via the link below to pay costs, work hours for aides, and trivial costs such as web services.





A landscape remembered and remembering: Protecting the Bashkir sacred land through pilgrimages in Russia’s Muslim Urals

Lili Di Puppo, University of Helsinki

November 24 (Thursday) 12.30-14.00 (Helsinki), live

Place: University of Helsinki,  Porthania 224, HELSUS Lounge, Yliopistonkatu 3

Drawing on fieldwork in a circle of Sufi Muslims and local volunteers in Bashkortostan in Russia’s Urals, I explore how practices of remembering connect my interlocutors to the Bashkir sacred landscape in a mutual relationship. During three summers in 2018-2021, I have spent time with disciples (murids) of a Naqshbandi Sufi tariqa (order) in Bashkortostan and local volunteers close to this circle.

In my research, I explore how my interlocutors experience the Bashkir natural landscape as alive and not as a blank space onto which they imprint the memory of human actions. Hence, they cultivate a mutual relationship with the Bashkir land, protecting it and being in turn protected by it. Being alive and sacred, the landscape participates in the practice of remembering as it reminds humans of the divine and of their place in creation. Moreover, this landscape connects them with the Islamic revelation and the Bashkir epos Ural Batyr.

My research connects with the themes of spiritual ecology and the spiritual dimension of the human connection with nature. In the narrations of my Bashkir interlocutors, the land is alive, neither a white canvas nor a resource that can be exchanged and sold. While we were driving back to Ufa from a pilgrimage, Ildar, a murid, thus told me that Bashkirs used to view the land through a spiritual prism. It is only with the move to a capitalist economy in the 20th century that land came to be perceived as a saleable entity, a resource that could change hands.

Balance and harmony in nature and in the relationship with the sacred land demand of humans that they remain constantly aware of the divine origin of everything in creation. The nature surrounding the Bashkirs, the land on which they live are gifts of God, signs (ayat) reminding them of the divine.

“Indigenous Sacred Natural Places and Environmental and Heritage Conservation” talk by Vesa Matteo Piludu

November 2 (Wednesday) 16.00-17.00 (Helsinki) 14.00-15.00 (GMT), hybrid

Indigenous Sacred Natural Places and Environmental and Heritage Conservation

For ZOOM Link Register HERE the day before the event. You will receive the zoom link an hour before the program begins.

Vesa Matteo Piludu

Indigenous Studies, Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, Faculty of Arts. Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS). University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Indigenous sacred natural places often have a rich biodiversity, including rare and endemic vegetal and animal species that are of great cultural importance for Indigenous peoples. The sacred places are also connected to a complex web of historical or archeological remains, rituals, oral stories, musical and artistic traditions that form the “living core” of indigenous identities. Analyzing case studies, as the Gwaii Haanas of the Haida Gwaii archipelago (Canada), this presentation aims to show that the Indigenous activism related to the protection of the sacred places has created innovative forms of Indigenous environmental and cultural heritage conservation that promotes fascinating decolonial practices, the co-governance of protected land, the empowerment of communities, and the revitalization of indigenous cultures and arts.

Vesa Matteo Piludu is a Postdoctoral Researcher of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki. His current research includes Indigenous religions, ontology, and animism; Indigenous and Finno-Ugric traditional and contemporary arts; the relation between the oral histories of Amazonian Indigenous peoples and biodiversity; and the importance of Indigenous sacred places for decolonial forms of environmental and cultural heritage conservation. His publications include edited books, a monograph, articles, and chapters on Finno-Karelian and Ob-Ugrian bear ceremonialism; Siberian and Nepalese shamanism; the relation between Finnish epic songs and the arts; and the writings of Italian travelers about the Sámi, the Indigenous people of Fennoscandia.


Vesa Matteo Piludu. Photo by Author.