News and Announcements
Reinhold Sackmann, Dr. rer.pol. habil., is Full Professor for Sociology, Dynamic Analysis of Social Structure, at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. His fields of research are life course analysis, sociology of education and coping with demographic change. He talks about how after accelerated population growth in the last two centuries, in a number of European and East Asian countries there are signs of a stagnant, sometimes shrinking population that is getting older and more heterogeneous. What are the effects of this new situation? Is there scope to modify effects of these new trends? Dr. Sackmann conducted a longitudinal data analysis of German school systems from 1995-2010, which shows that demographic change has had a profound effect on the institutional system of the education system, which for a long time was seen as a path dependent system that could not be transformed by political reforms.
Jessica Cherry, a research associate professor at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, will discuss the physics and economics of climate impacts on hydropower, as well as valuation of observational systems relating to climate and water, using examples from Scandinavia, Alaska, and California. Norway has significant observational infrastructure, allowing researchers to see strong connections between precipitation and supply, air temperature and demand, and electricity price and trade volumes. In Southeast Alaska, which has few such observational systems, there are technological challenges in providing geophysical data to hydropower operators, and additional challenges in measuring the value of improved forecasting. Jessica Cherry holds a PhD in climate physics from Columbia University in New York. This presentation is open to the public, but Dr. Cherry hopes that it will also lead to discussions and potential research relationships with researchers from ISER and other organizations.
Lunchtime Talk: Tskah, xs’waanx–Herring, Herring Roe: Colonialism and the Narrowing of Indigenous Resource Utilization
Historically and into the present day, herring and herring roe (tskah and xs'waanx) have provided the Tsimshian people of British Columbia with a range of food resources, both the fish itself—fresh, dried, or smoked—and the roe in several forms. But indigenous use has narrowed since the arrival of non-indigenous peoples. In this talk, Charles Menzies, a professor of social anthropology at the University of British Columbia, will describe the causes and implications of this narrowing of herring use among the Tsimshian, discussing the topic through archaeological, ethnographic, and indigenous-knowledge approaches. Dr. Menzies was formerly a commercial fisherman, and his research is predominantly fisheries-related, involving both indigenous and non-indigenous communities on the north coast of British Columbia. He also produces and directs documentary films, primarily about fishing communities.
Many recent developments in telecommunications provide opportunities for Alaska, particularly for Alaska Native and tribal organizations, business and institutional users, public sector agencies, and consumers. This seminar, held on March 28, provided a concise overview of these developments, with links to additional information. The seminar was conducted by Dr. Heather E. Hudson, professor of communications policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at UAA. She has conducted many studies on telecommunications in the North, and is completing a book entitled Connecting Alaskans: From Telegraph to Broadband, to be published by the University of Alaska Press. Download the presentation (PDF, 3.5MB) If you were not able to attend, but are interested in future ISER broadband activities and research, please send a message with “Broadband” in the subject line to UAA_ISER@uaa.alaska.edu.
Sitka Sound in Southeast Alaska is home to one of the state’s largest commercially viable stocks of Pacific herring, which are harvested for their roe (eggs) in the spring, just before they spawn. There is also a subsistence herring fishery in Sitka Sound, with subsistence users collecting the roe after the herring spawn. In recent years, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has increased the commercial guideline harvest level—and conflict between commercial and subsistence fishermen has also increased. James Shewmake, a research professional at ISER, earned his master's in natural resource management for his research on the subsistence herring fishery in Sitka Sound. He found that the size of the subsistence harvest depends not only on how many people participate, but also on other measures of participants’ effort and on harvesting opportunities.
The Barents region is a sprawling area of international cooperation that includes the northernmost parts of Sweden, Norway, and Finland, as well as Northwest Russia. It was created under an agreement among those countries in the early 1990s. Thomas Nilsen is the editor of BarentsObserver.com, an online public affairs and news site operated by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, which promotes cooperation among Barents member countries, particularly cooperation between Norway and Russia. At ISER, Mr. Nilsen talked about a range of topics, including Arctic oil and gas drilling in Norwegian waters, transportation of oil in Norwegian and Russian Arctic waters, potential routes across the Arctic as sea ice melts, and the Norwegian government’s High North policies and strategies for promoting economic and social development in the Arctic. Mr. Nilsen's visit to the United States was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.