Office: Bunnell 307D
Phone: 907 474 6608
Email: pplattet @ alaska.edu
As a cultural anthropologist, I am interested in understanding how people creatively exploit changing circumstances to preserve what matters to them. Specifically, my research explores the perpetuation and transformation of rituals related to sea-mammals, bears and reindeer in Kamchatka (Russian Far East), and the multifaceted legacies of reindeer herding and dog mushing in Alaska. A particular focus is on festive activities – culture camps, reindeer/sled dog races, village carnivals, subsistence-related games, etc. – that promote cultural preservation, knowledge sharing, and opportunities for community-based education. My projects are collaborative and participatory. I spend as much time as possible in the field, in rural and urban areas, where I strive to facilitate the ethnographic documentation of valued cultural practices (see, for example, uaf.edu/deer/). I currently lead two funded research programs at the UAF Department of Anthropology. The first one, with Amber Lincoln (Curator for the Americas, British Museum), is supported by the National Park Service and examines the “Reindeer Traditions of Beringia”, past and present. This project is done in partnership with culture-bearers in northwest Alaska and northern Kamchatka. The second one, with Robin Shoaps (linguistic anthropologist at UAF), is supported by the National Science Foundation and forms the content of a course on the culture of dog mushing in Alaska. The production of this course relies on collaboration with several mushing communities and contributes to an on-line pedagogical platform created in Switzerland (University of Neuchâtel) to teach observational skills. In connection to my research activities I teach a broad range of courses at the UAF Department of Anthropology, and I strongly encourage undergraduate and graduate students to participate in my projects.
- Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (ANTH215)
- History of Anthropology (ANTH384)
- World Ethnography (ANTH301)
- Political Anthropology (ANTH403/603)
- Kinship and Social Organization (ANTH407/607)
- Anthropology of Religion (ANTH409/609)
- Anthropological Background for Resilience and Adaptation (ANTH616)
- Structures of Anthropological Arguments (ANTH629)
- Anthropological Field Methods (ANTH630)
- Research Design and Professional Development (ANTH652)
Journal articles and book chapters
(Forthcoming, with Robin Shoaps) “Negotiating Rivalry and Solidarity: Oratory and Affect among Dog Mushers in Alaska,” Open Anthropological Research
(Forthcoming) “Deep into the feast: Stepan Krasheninnikov’s observations and descriptions of a Kamchatkan Fall ritual,” in J. Bobaljik, A. King and D. Koester (eds). Festschrift in honor of Viktoria Petrasheva. Berghahn Books [Studies in the Circumpolar North].
In Press (with Amber Lincoln and Varpu Lotvonen) “Frank Churchill’s 1905 documentation of the Reindeer Service in Alaska,” Alaska Park Science
2021 (with Robin Shoaps) “Creating a Virtual Ethnographic Field School in an Off-Line Community of Practice,” Journal of Archaeology and Education, 5(1): Article 8.
2015 (with Amber Lincoln) “‘We take what we can get’: The long-lasting appetite for Rangifer on the Alaska Peninsula” in A. Lincoln and P. Plattet (eds.) Reindeer Herding on the Alaska Peninsula. Theme issue, Alaska Journal of Anthropology, Volume 12, Number 2 (2014): 4-22.
2015 (with Amber Lincoln, guest editors) Reindeer Herding on the Alaska Peninsula. Theme Issue, Alaska Journal of Anthropology, Volume 12, Number 2 (2014): 1-73.