Sveta Yamin-Pasternak

Phone: 907-474-6188
Office: 305A Bunnell Building
Email: syamin@alaska.eduSveta Yamin-Pasternak

Research areas

Food and culture, ethnomycology, anthropology of art, Circumpolar North, post-Soviet studies

 As a cultural anthropologist interested in how human food practices in high latitude regions interact with the local climate, built environment, ecology, and aesthetics, I work in communities around Alaska and Russian Far East, and with scholars in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, and engineering. After completing my PhD dissertation in 2007, with a focus on ethnomycology in the Bering Strait, I continued to study anthropology of food in the course of two postdoctoral appointments, first as a National Science Foundation Polar Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and later at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering. I currently lead several interdisciplinary research projects at the Institute of Northern Engineering and teach a broad range of courses at the UAF Department of Anthropology. The graduate and undergraduate students I mentor at UAF conduct research on questions related to foraging, post-Soviet transitions, foodways, expressive culture, and contemporary art.


  • Individual, Culture, and Society (ANTH100X)
  • Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 215)
  • Culture and Global Issues (ANTH 245)
  • Ethnography of Siberia (ANTH 302)
  • Ethnomycology (EBOT/ANTH 393), team-taught with Igor Pasternak
  • Anthropology of Art (ANTH/ART 402/602), team-taught with Igor Pasternak
  • Economic Anthropology (ANTH 446/646)
  • Gender in Cross-cultural Perspectives (ANTH/WGN 445/446)
  • Food and Culture Seminar (ANTH 402/602)
  • Structures of Anthropological Argument (ANTH 629)


  • Yamin-Pasternak, S. and I. Pasternak, 2023 Fremily in Alaska-Ukraine, Forum
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S. and I. Pasternak, 2021 Cooking and Commensality along the Bering Food Bridge, Etudes Inuit Studies 45 (1–2):259–282.
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S. and I. Pasternak, 2021 Seeing the Tundra for the Plants, on the Eco-Spiritual Wholeness of Arctic Vegetation, Social Compass, 68(4):562–573.
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S. and I. Pasternak, 2020 Commentary on Chloe Nahum-Claudel ‘Pyrotechnical Mastery and Humanization: Amazonian Cuisine, Care and Craft in Evolutionary and Semiotic Perspective,’ Current Anthropology 61(4):435-437.
  • Dudarev, A. Yamin-Pasternak, S., Pasternak, I. and V. Chupakhin. 2019 Traditional Diet andEnvironmental Contaminants in Coastal Chukotka I: Study Design and Dietary Patterns.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(5), 702.
  • Dudarev, A. Yamin-Pasternak, S., Pasternak, I. and V. Chupakhin. 2019 Traditional Diet andEnvironmental Contaminants in Coastal Chukotka IV: Recommended Intake Criteria International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(5), 696.
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S. and Pasternak, I. 2018 Ethnomycology, in International Encyclopedia ofAnthropology, Wiley.
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S., Schweitzer, P., Pasternak, I., Kliskey, A., Alessa, L. 2017 A Cup of Tundra: Ethnography of Thirst and Water in the Bering Strait, in Meanings and Values of Water in Russian Culture, Jane Costlow and Arja Rosenholm, eds., Routledge.
  • Yamin-Pasternak, Sveta, 2016 "Valuing Diversity in the Study of Arctic Change." Hot Spots,Cultural Anthropology, July 29, 2016
  • Yamin-Pasternak, S., Kliskey, A., Alessa, L., Pasternak, I., Schweitzer, P. 2014 The Rotten Renaissance in the Bering Strait: Loving Loathing and Washing the Smell of Foods with a (Re)Acquired Taste, Current Anthropology 55(5):619-645.
  • Yamin-Pasternak Ethnomycology: Mushrooms in Cultural Entanglements, 2011.Ethnobiology, a Textbook, Adnerson, E.N., Pearsall, D., Hunn, E., and Turner, N., eds. Wiley Blackwell Publishers.


  • Arctic Summer Plant Foods, with Igor Pasternak, featured in the British Museum exhibition Arctic: Culture and Climate, London, UK. October 2020 - February 2021.
  • Aging with Change, Food Arts of the Bering Strait, with Igor Pasternak, Festival of Native Ar ts, Fairbanks, AK, 2018; Carrie McLain Memorial Museum, Nome, AK, 2019.
  • Homesteadin’, with Igor Pasternak, a group exhibition on living arts curated by Bradley Chris, Liminal Gallery, Roanoke, VA, 2019.
  • Yes We Can, participatory installation exploring food and aesthetic practices among the ex-Soviet immigrants in Delta Junction, Alaska, with Igor Pasternak, Valentina Kilimnik, and Ryan Tinsley, International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage, AK, 2014.