Dr Laura Siragusa

Dr Laura Siragusa

Honorary Research Fellow


Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen Edward Wright Building, G02

Research Interests

Linguistic Anthropology, Verbal and non-verbal communication practices, Human-animal relations, Power and Language, Time and Language, Responsibility and Language, Healing practices, Secrecy

Current Research

During my doctoral studies, I was able to demonstrate the benefits and tensions of specific language ideologies which consider literacy a step further in the hierarchy of a language.  My dissertation, entitled “Vepsian Language: Speaking and Writing Heritage Language in Villages and Cities,” was written under the supervision of Dr.  Alexander King and Prof.  Barbara Fennell.  And in December 2012 my work was examined by Prof.  Jan Blommaert and Dr.  Tanya Argounova-Low.  

Between 2013 and 2015 I was employed as an ERMOS Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Culture Studies and Arts of the University of Tartu (Estonia). The title of my project was, Language, traditional knowledge and health in Vepsian villages, Russia.  Here I was able to continue working on Vepsian matters, focusing my attention on the use of Vepsian communicative oral practices for healing purposes. I worked under the supervision of Prof. Kristin Kuutma.

Since January 2015 I have been a team member of the Arctic Domus project, led by Prof. David Anderson, at the University of Aberdeen. I am working with two Finno-Ugric groups - Veps and Sámi in Russia - to problematize linguistic interaction and communicative activities between humans and animals living in and around traditional rural settlements. Specifically, I am problematizing the linguistic nature of how they talk aboutengage and negotiate withthe animals and spirits. My focus is not representational but relational as I approach language as a holistic, relational, and located phenomenon.

I have also been working on relations of time and space as they are expressed in language, and concealment practices. At present I am also developing an interest for the relations between notions of responsibility and language.


Teaching Responsibilities

Course AT3524 Anthropology of Discourse (AY 2016-2017)

Course SL3502 Great Works (AY 2016-2017)

Lecture, Fieldnotes, to third-year students for the course, AT3031 Doing Anthropological Research (AY 2016-2017)

Lecture, Experiencing Language, to MRes students for the course, AT5531 Research in Social Anthropology (AY 2015-2016; AY 2016-2017)

Lecture, “Endangered” languages in the North: questions of agency and power, to fourth-year students for the course, AT4509 Anthropology of the North (AY 2015-2016)

 Tutorial for AT1502 (AY 2014-2015, AY 2015-2016, AY2016-2017), Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity

Further Info

External Responsibilities

November 2014-to December 2018, Associated Scholar in the HusArctic Project, Academy of Finland, University of Lapland (Finland)

2014-2020, Associated Scholar in the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research Project IUT34-32, Cultural heritage as a socio-cultural resource and contested field, University of Tartu (Estonia)

Admin Responsibilities

  • English subtitles for Vepsian film, Paimnen torvut [The Magic Horn], 2016.

Youtube presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mwv6aMqrek

  • English subtitles for Vepsian filmSel'ktas vedes kala kokib [Fish bite in Clean Water], 2015.

Youtube presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbCXCDcixfk



Currently viewing:

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  • Siragusa, L & Arzyutov, D 2020, 'Nothing Goes to Waste: Sustainable Practices of Re-Use Among Indigenous Groups in the Russian North', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.
  • Ferguson, J & Siragusa, L 2017, 'Introduction: Language Sustainability in the Circumpolar North', Anthropologica, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 1-5.
  • Siragusa, L & Ferguson, J 2017, 'Introduction: Viabilité de la langue et le Nord circumpolaire', Anthropologica, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 6-11.
  • Siragusa, L 2017, Promoting Heritage Language in Northwest Russia. Routledge Studies in Linguistic Anthropology, Routledge.
  • Siragusa, L & Arukask, M 2017, 'Reflecting “field”: two Vepsian villages and three researchers', Sibirica : Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 75-105. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/sib.2017.160104
  • Siragusa, L 2017, 'Responsibility in narratives, morphology, and ‘blowing words’', Paper presented at 9th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS IX), Umeå, Sweden, 8/06/17 - 12/06/17.
  • Siragusa, L 2017, 'Secrecy and Sustainability: How Concealment and Revelation Shape Vepsian Language Revival', Anthropologica, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 74-88.
  • Siragusa, L 2015, 'Metaphors of language: the Vepsian ecology challenges an international paradigm', JEFUL, vol. 6, no. 1, 7, pp. 111-137. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/jeful.2015.6.1.07
  • Siragusa, L 2015, 'Monolingual and bilingual practices: reversing power relations during a festivity in Pondala', Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore, vol. 61, pp. 65-88. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.7592/FEJF2015.61.siragusa
  • Siragusa, L 2015, 'Sustaining languages and people through healing oral practices: Vepsian puhegid', XII International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies, Oulu, Finland, 17/08/15 - 21/08/15 pp. 158-158.
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