Dr Nancy Wachowich
BA, MA, PhD
I am a social anthropologist working at the University of Aberdeen since 2001. My ethnographic research is located mostly in the Canadian High Arctic and draws on fields of historical anthropology, visual anthropology, oral histories, museums and material culture. I have written on the history of colonialism, the interplay between western and indigenous knowledge systems, historiography, Inuit media, and on the construction and invocation of traditions. My first book (worked on before and during my PhD) was part of a collaboration with Apphia Agalakti Awa, Rhoda Kaukjak Katsak and Sandra Pikujaq Katsak. Entitled Saqiyuq: Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women (McGill Queens University Press, 1999) it documented Inuit colonial history through the autobiographical stories of three generations from the same family. I continue have an interest in themes related to colonial historiography, women’s autobiographies, collaborative methodologies, and the politics and ethics of representation. My current research explores the dynamics of Inuit filmmaking, Arctic sewing and handicrafts, community digital archiving projects, colonial autobiographies and efforts to indigenize the internet.
I enjoy collaboration with academic and non-academic partners. From 2014-2022 I was Co-Investigator on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) collaborative project entitled Mobilising Inuit Cultural Heritage (http://mich.info.yorku.ca/) where I worked with Inuit seamstresses and media-makers in Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) co-founding a women’s sealskin sewing co-op,The Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective (MAMC), and creating a digital visual archive of seal skin sewing arts and skills (https://vimeo.com/mamc).
I am currently Co-PI on a collaborative POLAR/UKRI funded project 'Inuksiutit: Food Sovereignty in Nunavut and the Co-production of Country Food Knowledge' addressing Inuit food security and Elders/youth advocacy in the context of climate change.
- PhD Social Anthropology2001 - University of British Columbia, Canada
- MA Symbolic Anthropology1992 - University of Western Ontario, Canada
- BA Anthropology1989 - University of Alberta, Canada
Memberships and Affiliations
- Internal Memberships
School of Social Sciences Postgraduate Research Officer
- External Memberships
Faculty and Steering Committee Member, International PhD School for the Study of Arctic Societies (IPSSAS)
External Examiner, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (2006-2009)
External Examiner, MA Visual Cultures, MRes Visual Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London (2019-2022)
Prizes and Awards
Oral History Association (USA), Award for Best Project, 2000
Canadian Historical Society Clio Award for the North, 2000
arctic anthropology, ethnohistory, oral traditions, museums and material culture, visual anthropology, anthropology of colonialism, anthropology of art, indigenous media, collaborative methodologies
Inuit oral traditions, material culture, historical anthropology, digital archiving, collaborative methodologies, media anthropology, visual anthropology, cultural heritage, anthropology of art
Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH): a multi-media, multiplatform re-engagement of voice in visual arts and performance, York University, Canada
Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective: a women’s seal skin sewing and digital archiving collective based in the Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Nunavut Canada. See: https://vimeo.com/mamc. https://arnaitmiqsuqtuit.wixsite.com/mamc
Qingyang Li, Doctorate. Dissertation topic: dance and NGOs in a Chinese village
Marie Saunders, Doctorate, Dissertation topic: Trinidadian historiographies
Ursula Obrusnik, Doctorate, Thesis topic: The politics of belonging in a Czech-Polish border town.
Peter Lawrence Bates, Doctorate, Thesis title: Knowing caribou: Inuit, ecological science and traditional ecological knowledge in the Canadian Arctic.
Sophie Caecilie Elixhauser, Doctorate, Thesis title: Nammeq: Personal autonomy and everyday communication in East Greenland
Hiroko Ikuta, Doctorate, Thesis title: Sociality of Dance: Eskimo Dance among Yupiget on St. Lawrence Island and Iñupiat in Barrow, Alaska
Irena Leisbet Connon, Doctorate, Thesis title: Oral narratives and the reaffirmation of native Alutiiq identity
Lidia Joanna Jendzjowsky, Masters of Philosphy, Dissertation Title: Photographs of landscape and indigenous peoples along the Skeena River, Canada
Amber Anne Lincoln, Doctorate, Thesis title: Things of use, things of life: coordinating lives through material practices in Northwest Alaska
Katrin Annemarie Simon-Sakurai, Doctorate, Thesis title: Never alone: Narratives of spirits in an Alaskan Yup’ik community
Anna C MacLennan, Masters of Research, Dissertation title: Layers in the Cold: the potential of an anthropological study of Inuit skin clothing
Martina Anne Tyrrell, Doctorate, Thesis title: Inuit perception, knowledge and use of the sea in Arviat, Nunavut
Silvije Habulinec, Masters of Research, Dissertation Title: Material histories of Military Sites in Kangirlussuaq, Greenland, 2015.
Ursual Obrusnik, Masters of Research, Dissertation title: Urban Aboriginal media in Winnipeg, Canada, 2015.
Zoe Todd, Doctorate, Thesis title: ‘You Never Go Hungry’: Fish pluralities, human-fish relationships, Indigenous legal orders and colonialism in Paulatuuq, Canada.
Tara Joly, Doctorate, Thesis title: The Social Life of Wetlands: wetland reclamation in the western subarctic of Canada, 2017
Frederique Manceau, Masters of Research, Dissertation topic: The lingerie industry and lace craftsmanship in France.
Tamara Ranspot, Doctorate, Thesis topic: Ethnomusicology and animal-human relationships in the Yukon, Canada, 2019
Gioia Barnbrook, Doctorate, Thesis title: Continuing the Hunt: Environmental Change, Ecological Knowledge and Provision in Wemindji, Northern Quebec. 2019
Kirsty Kernohan, Doctorate, Thesis title: Leisured Colonialism: objects, archives and family ties in the Keith- Falconer collection at the University of Aberdeen 1873-1945. 2021.
Funding and Grants
Skin sewing segment of 'Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage: a multi/media platform re-engagment of voice in visual art and performance, Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Anna Hudson, York University, PI
'Inuit video art', British Academy Small Grant, 2004-2008
'Material Histories: Social Relationships between Scots and Aboriginal Peoples in the Canadian Fur Trade , c. 1870-1930', Art and Humanities Research Council, 2005-2007, (with Professor Tim Ingold and Dr. Alison Brown)
Anthropology 1003, Introduction to Anthropology, Peoples of the World
Anthropology 5032, Research in Social Anthropology I
Anthropology 2511, Colonialism Re-imagined
Anthropology 3523, Ethnography
Anthropology 3006, Methods in Anthropological Research
Anthropology 4522, Oral Traditions
Anthropology 4528 Anthropology of the North (subsistence hunting module)
Anthropology 4010, Indigenous Media
Anthropology 3018, Society and Nature (animal rights module)
Anthropology 5534: Methods training (evidence module)
School of Social Science Postgraduate Training 5055, (Academic writing skills module)
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With or without the camera running: the work of Inuit film‐makingJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 105-125Contributions to Journals: Articles
Inuit Women’s Sealskin Sewing: a film for the British museum exhibition 'Arctic: Culture and Climate'Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
Working with nalua: the most delicate of sealskinsArctic. Lincoln, A., Cooper, J., Loovers, J. P. L. (eds.). Thames & Hudson, in collaboration with The British Museum, pp. 142-148, 7 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Digitalisation of crafts: Comparative approaches to Arctic furNordisk Museologi: The Journal of Nordic Museology, vol. 2018, no. 2-3, pp. 30-44Contributions to Journals: Articles
Leah Aksaajuq Otak: The Measure of a Stitch & the Art of TranslationThe Hands' Measure. Wachowich, N., MacDonald, J. (eds.). Inhabit Media, pp. 16-34, 18 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Intimate Clips: Sealskin Sewing, Digital Archives and the Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit CollectiveMuseum Anthropology Review, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 75-99Contributions to Journals: Articles
Anaanavut Qisingit: a meditation on sealskin sewingNon-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
The Hands' Measure: Essays honouring Leah Aksaajuq Otak's Contribution to Arctic ScienceNunavut Arctic College Media, Iqaluit. 396 pagesBooks and Reports: Books
Irnivik: Airing FrameNon-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
Uiguaqtuq: The Hidden StitchNon-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products