2015-2016 Colloquium Series

The Berkeley Folklore Roundtable and the Tourism Studies Working Group
are pleased to announce


Professor Stein R. Mathisen
(Professor of Culture Studies at the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies, UiT The Arctic University of Norway) 

Friday, October 9, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hal
University of California, Berkeley

Reception to follow

Download the event flyer [click here]
Historically, visitors, researchers and tourists to the Arctic areas often have reported great and profound experiences of the Northern Lights during their stays. From their presentations, we can read how they have listened to various narratives of this phenomenon from their local guides, or at least learn how the visitors understood, transformed and transmitted these narratives. While educated visitors generally understand the Northern Lights according to the latest findings of nature science, the description of the phenomenon usually uses local narratives and alleged indigenous myths to give the right color to the extraordinary experience. However, if these poetical descriptions and narratives are contextualized historically, there is a possibility that even the performances of contemporary Northern Lights tourism reproduce and reinforce old boundaries between 'us' and 'them' in the Arctic area.

Speaker Bio:
Stein R. Mathisen is a Professor of Culture Studies at the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where he teaches at tourism and media production studies. His major research interests include folk medicine and folk belief, the role of narratives for the constitution of identity and ethnicity, questions of heritage politics and ethno-politics, and the history of cultural research in the northern areas. He has done fieldwork in various Kven, Sámi and Norwegian locations in Northern Norway concerning folk medicine, folk belief, identity, ethnicity and the impact of tourism, and in the Finn Forest area (borderland between Norway and Sweden) concerning festivals and revitalization of ethnic culture. 

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