Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project

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Report:International workshop Tohoku Forum for Creativity, Thematic Programs Geologic Stabilization and Human Adaptations in Northeast Asia Workshop 4:Northern Modes of Foraging and Domestication as an Interaction among Humans, Animals, and Geography

Northeast Asia is one of the coldest regions of human geographical distribution on our planet and is home to the Pole of Cold in northern hemisphere. How did the human population adapt the harsh environment, in light of hominoid biological evolution having occurred in tropical Africa? The key for survival was the cultural adaptation. Human behaviors and notions formed and changed as a result of the human-environment interaction involving the migrating peoples; these included environmental perception, tool making and foraging capacities, animal domestication, social organizations, and belief-ideology systems. Human cultural adaptation is not simple irreversible environmental determinism, but a series of complex evolutional phenomena controlled by the probabilities of a given socio-ecological system. Based on the above concerns this program aims to provide an exchange of knowledge in international academic collaboration, bringing together geochemistry, ecology, history and anthropology of Northeast Asia and developing a new methodology of area studies.

The workshop was organized by Hiroki Takakura(Professor, Center for Northeast Asian Studies and Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University) and Florian Stammler (Visiting Professor in 2019, Center for Northeast Asian Studies Tohoku University. Prof. University of Lapland). It was held at Tohoku University on 21 and 22 Feb.2019 and consists of 12 speakers including 7 guests from foreign countries. Archeology and anthropology presented the actual state of cultural adaptation that was uniquely formed in the Arctic. From animal genetics, it was argued that the possibility of domestication has taken place in both cultural transmission and regional evolution.

Thorough this workshop, we suggest a possibility for future collaboration between Arctic researchers in Japanese and key persons form overseas researchers who lead the study of indigenous cultures in the Russian Arctic. And it was also a multidisciplinary arctic research based on anthropology, domestic researchers such as animal welfare sciences and marine ecology discussed together and it became an opportunity to make each exchange.

Toshikazu Tanaka (Tohoku University/a member of Theme 7)

This is a look of the workshop (From
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