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autumn 2019

SOA-8012 Local / Indigenous knowledge and global mechanisms - 5 ECTS

Sist endret: 23.08.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Paris | Annet |

Application deadline

1st of September. Application code 9306.

Type of course

The course may be taken as a single course.

Admission requirements

This course is aimed at PhD students and researchers in the fields of Anthropology, Education and other social sciences. 

The course will be open for people admitted to the PhD Programme at UiT and other Norwegian Universities, and Doctoral students from other universities internationally that need ECTS. The course also invites researchers who work with issues of indigenous knowledge at local and international levels. PhD students not from UiT must upload a document from their university stating that they are registered PhD students.

The course has 12 seats (note - this is an ideal maximum but could be adjusted if there is more interest).

If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available on the PhD course, applicants will be ranked from category 1 to 3:

Category 1: People admitted to the PhD Programme at UiT

Category 2: Participants in the Associate Professor Programme that fulfil the educational requirements

Category 3: Doctoral students from other universities

Course content

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.

Objectives of the course

The students have the following 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

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

NOTE: This course will be held in Paris and will be supported by the Center for Franco-Norwegian cooperation in the social and human sciences.http://www.fmsh.fr/en/node/24242

The Center will organize the logistics and supply the space; pay for meals for 2.5 days; and support the participation of a keynote speaker. Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.


The course will be 2.5 days.


Day 1) will be composed of 6-8 presentations by a group of expert scholars in the field. These will include: A representative of the UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) program; Irène Bellier from l¿Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, as well as lecturers from the University of Tromsø.  We have funding for one keynote speaker, who will be invited once the course is approved.


Day 2) student presentations of research projects and / or theoretical papers that have been submitted before hand. Time will be allotted for feedback on each one. In particular the keynote speaker will be asked to read and comment on each paper.


Day 3) will be organized as panel discussions on topics that relate the student papers with the areas of the speakers / instructors.


The exam will consist of:  


One paper of 5000 to 7000  words


The exam will be assessed on a Pass/Fail basis.



Jennifer Hays

Førsteamanuensis i sosialantropologi
Telefon: +4777644597 jennifer.hays@uit.no

Application deadline autumn 2019

The application deadline for this subject is 1st of September.

Aplication code: 9306.

Application web: https://fsweb.no/soknadsweb/velgInstitusjon.jsf

More information about this course (held in Paris)

Click here for more information about this course