I am an environmental anthropologist interested in the themes of indigeneity, human–resource relations and multispecies encounters in the Arctic and Siberia. I grew up in Karelia, Northwestern Russia, and my passion for Indigenous studies originates there, at the time when I started studying the rare Veps language at school.
Years later, I returned to my childhood memories when working on my PhD dissertation at Central European University in Budapest. My dissertation (defended in 2019) focused on two indigenous minorities of the Russian Arctic and Siberia: Veps in Karelia and Soiots in Buriatia. Veps and Soiots reside in resource-rich territories of Russia. Both communities have strong connections to rare stone extraction, and this experience influences the articulations of their indigenous identities.
After completing PhD, I worked as an Assistant Professor at the School of Advanced Studies, the University of Tyumen in Siberia. This position further strengthened my ties with Siberian regions and deepened my interest in extractive industries’ symbolism. Currently, I continue working on these topics within my postdoctoral project.
Since September 2020, I am a postdoctoral researcher at Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki. My project focuses on indigenous conceptualizations of sustainability in industrialized areas. It analyzes how mining-related narratives become a part of local discourses on sustainability among indigenous communities in Russia.
I hope to continue my fieldwork among Veps soon, once it gets easier to travel. Besides, it would be fascinating to broaden my research scope in the future and compare indigenous conceptualizations of sustainability across Northwestern Russia, Finland, and Sweden.
Recently, I have joined International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) as the Secretary of Social and Human Working Group. I am happy to contribute to scientific cooperation development across the Arctic states!
Feel free to contact me:
More information about my research:
Varfolomeeva, A. (2020). Lines in the Sacred Landscape: The Entanglement of Roads, Resources, and Informal Practices in Buriatiia. Sibirica 19 (2): 27-49. Open access: https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/sibirica/19/2/sib190203.xml.
Oehler, A. and Varfolomeeva, Anna. (Eds.). (2019). Multispecies Households in the Saian Mountains: Ecology at the Russia-Mongolia Border. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793602541/Multispecies-Households-in-the-Saian-Mountains-Ecology-at-the-Russia-Mongolia-Border.
Varfolomeeva, A. (2018). “Remaking Stone and Community: Indigenous Vepses’ Engagement in Mining in Northwestern Russia.” Polar Geography 41(1): 26-38. https://doi.org/10.1080/1088937X.2017.1400603.