Olga Lauter, member of MIARC, will defend her PhD thesis entitled Renegotiation of Urban Yup’ik Traditions in Anchorage, Alaska this Friday, July 5, 2024, at 5pm CET.

The focus of this dissertation is on ways, the Yup’ik Indigenous population living in urban areas of Alaska, preserve and negotiate and reinterpret their traditions. In this dissertation I explore Yup’ik traditions in their dynamics and in relation to the urban Indigenous and non-Indigenous diversity and environment. The city of Anchorage, where the main fieldwork research has been conducted, is considered by the Alaskan Indigenous people as the largest Indigenous village of Alaska. Indeed, the city continues to attract Indigenous people from different Alaskan rural areas by better employment, education, medical care. On the one hand, the ongoing migration of the Indigenous population to the city contributes to increase in its diversity. Thus, in the dissertation I analyze the strategies that the urban Yup’ik people use to maintain their cultural and religious identities in the city in interaction with the diverse urban environment. I explore the specific traits of the Yup’ik ethnicity that emerge in the context of urban migration and Indigenous urban solidarity. I analyze how the urban environment shapes the Yup’ik traditional gender roles and family structure. I examine how the urban environment contributes to the process of the Alaska Indigenous collective identity construction. On the other hand, the ongoing rural-to-urban migration of the Alaska Indigenous people results in the ruralization of the city. I explore how the Yup’ik Indigenous people contribute to this process, how they appropriate the city and what strategies they use to shape the urban spaces. My research concentrates on the topic of oscillatory rural-to-urban migration of the Yup’ik people who cross back and forth from village to city. I argue that religious denominations play an important role in the reproduction of the village life for the Yup’ik people. I explore in what ways the Yup’ik living in the city of Anchorage stimulate their churches to remain a vehicle for keeping connected during rural-to-urban transitions.

The members of her PhD committee are:

Dr Alexandra Lavrillier, Associate Professor UVSQ/University Paris-Saclay (co-supervisor), France

Dr Jan Borm, Full Professor UVSQ/University Paris-Saclay (co-supervisor), France

Dr Medeia Csoba DeHass, Associate Professor, University of Missouri, USA

Dr Pascal Dibie, Emeritus Professor, University Paris 7 Denis-Diderot, France

Dr Peter Schweitzer, Full Professor, Univertsity of Vienna, Austria

Dr Maria Williams, Full Professor, Alaska Native Studies Chair, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA

The defence is a public event. If you wish to follow the event online, please contact  JaThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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