Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Emilie Demant Hatt website

I've now launched a stand-alone website about Emilie Demant Hatt. Although it's still in progress, the site has pages about her life and art and one dedicated to With the Lapps in the High Mountains, which is in production now with the University of Wisconsin Press and will be published in May.This is my translation from Danish of Demant Hatt's remarkable and engaging book of traveling and living among the Sami of Northern Scandinavia in 1907-8.

I'm really pleased with the cover, which features a painting by Demant Hatt from 1940, "Ice Bridge," and thrilled that Hugh Beach, an American professor of anthropology who lives and works in Sweden, wrote a  foreword. Professor Beach is the author of one of my favorite books of all time, A Year in Lapland: Guest of the Reindeer Herders.

I'm also delighted with some of the book's advance blurbs including this one by an anthropologist whose work I admire greatly, Luke Eric Lassiter. He's written The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, as well as many incisive articles about the art and challenge of collaborative ethnography.

“Emilie Demant Hatt’s With the Lapps in the High Mountains is an important and significant contribution to the history of anthropology and ethnography. Weaving artful description and personal narrative, Demant Hatt recounts a story that, until now, has been largely unknown to English-speaking anthropologists and ethnographers. Many perhaps know of her collaboration with Johan Turi, but this work sheds further light on Demant Hatt’s role as an observant participant involved in the daily lives of Sami people. Thanks to Barbara Sjoholm’s careful and skillful translation, Demant Hatt’s work is fortunately now available to a much larger audience.”

                                                                                                  -- Luke Eric Lassiter

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Umeå--European Capital of Culture 2014

It’s not quite 2013 yet but the northern Swedish city of Umeå is preparing for its year in the spotlight of the Midnight Sun as the 2014 choice of the European Capital of Culture. Each calendar year the European Union chooses one city to organize events that showcase national cultural strengths and have a European dimension.

This coming year Marseille is the designated city and its offerings look fabulous. Umeå won’t be able to match Marseille’s Mediterranean warmth and food, but the north of Sweden (besides its beauty, light, and cloudberries) has something that France doesn’t—the Sami. Umeå is using this opportunity to integrate Sweden’s Sami heritage into its programming. For a start the whole year of cultural offerings is organized around the eight seasons of the traditional Sami Calendar, beginning with Deep Winter––Dálvvie in Sami. For offerings season by season, take a look here.

I love the sound of Deep Winter (in the Swedish-language version of the program they just call it Vinter, which doesn’t have the same ring). If I lived in Sweden I’d love to visit Umeå several times over the course of 2014 for the exhibits and changing round of festivals. I’ve never been to this university town 600 kilometers north of Stockholm, which, for the record, also has more young vegans than anyplace else in Sweden, and a rocking music scene. 2014 will also see Sweden’s first women’s history museum open in Umeå. Another compelling reason to start saving.
From the festival website. Mini-golf in Deep Winter?

For more information about Umeå see their visitor site.