PhD course on local / indigenous knowledge – Deadline 1 September

PhD course to be held in Paris 20-22 November 2019: 

Local / Indigenous knowledge and global mechanisms 

(5 ETC/STP) 

This course is offered by the Anthropology Programme, in the Department of Social Sciences, UiT Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø 

In cooperation with the project Justice and Indigenous Peoples (JUSTIP) École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. 

The course will be held in Paris and is supported by the Centre Universitaire de Norvège à Paris (CUNP). 

The language of the course will be English 

This course will provide an opportunity to discuss the course topic with experts in the field, including academics and practitioners, in a small group setting. 

You will also be able to receive insightful feedback on your own work. 

The Centre Universitaire de Norvège will provide meals throughout the course, including two dinners for all participants at restaurants in Paris. 


Application for Norwegian students: 

Application for non-Norwegians, or for any questions about the course please contact Jennifer Hays: (+47 40 60 72 22) 

Course Description 

Recent years have seen a surge of interest in indigenous / local knowledge, and its potential to solve both local and global crises. However, in most parts of the world, in-depth, local knowledge is disappearing quickly as people lose their land, and as traditional subsistence strategies – into which this knowledge is integrated – become impracticable. International and national programs designed to safeguard such knowledge have risen to in response to this crisis. To promote local knowledge, its value must be made clear, and “spaces” must be created for its maintenance. This could include, for example: access to land (physical spaces), opportunities for subsistence connected to its maintenance (economic spaces), and spaces either within, or in relation to, conventional educational systems. But 

how are such spaces created? What is the role of international organizations in this process – particularly those using approaches based in human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development? What is the role of education? This course will explore these complex questions, examining: the interface between international mechanisms designed to safeguard and promote indigenous / local knowledge, the organizations that carry out this work, and local communities. We will also discuss the role of private enterprises that seek to exploit traditional knowledge for profit or other gain. 

Expert lectures by academics from France and Norway, practitioners from UNESCO, and one invited keynote speaker will discuss topics including the following, as they relate to indigenous / local knowledge: 

• rights-based approaches 

• intangible cultural heritage 

• current global and local discourses 

• global relevance 

• climate change and environmental issues 

• local / subsistence livelihoods vs. market economies 

• the potential for misuse or exploitation 

• communities’ own desire to maintain their own knowledge, skills and livelihoods. 

Course Schedule 

Day 1 (20 November): will consist of 6-8 presentations by a group of expert scholars in the field. These will include: 

– keynote speaker Edmond Dounias (Institute for Research and Develpoment, IRD) – A representative of the UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems 

(LINKS) programène Bellier l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and 

coordinator of the project Justice and Indigenous Peoples (JUSTIP) Hays, Department of Anthropology, UiT Arctic University of Norway 

Day 2 (21 November) Students will present their research projects and / or theoretical papers that have been submitted beforehand. Time will be allotted for feedback on each paper. In particular the keynote speaker(s) will be asked to read and comment on each paper. 

Day 3 (22 November): Panel discussions on topics that relate the student papers with the areas of the speakers / instructors. 

Assessment: One paper of 5000 to 7000 words, assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. 

Learning outcomes: 


• Good understanding of the international mechanisms that promote indigenous / traditional knowledge, as well as their scope and limits 

• Good understanding of various global discourses around indigenous / traditional knowledge 

• Good understanding of how these mechanisms and discourses feed into practical considerations of efforts to promote indigenous knowledge, at local and global levels. 


• The students will be able to describe how the above and other factors play out in their particular case (project), and through a particular theoretical lens 

• The students will be able to clearly present a case study on indigenous / local knowledge and to respond to questions and critiques, verbally and in writing 

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