I am a social anthropologist and have a particular focus on the societies and environments of the circumpolar North. I have carried out extensive anthropological research and fieldwork in Greenland, Canada, Finland, Scotland and Alaska, but have interests in other places too. My areas of specific concern cover, but are not confined to, the anthropology and environmental history of weather and climate; environmental change and resource use issues in rural and coastal communities; the anthropology of energy and the extractive industries (including the indigenous and cultural politics of consultation); place, locality, depopulation and migration; the human dimensions of global environmental and sustainability issues; identities and borderlands, geopolitics and resource frontiers. I am interested in understanding human-environment relations, especially within a context of historical and contemporary environmental changes which affect livelihoods, human engagement with the environment, resource use and development at multiple and interrelated levels.
I read sociology and social anthropology at the University of Aberdeen and hold a PhD in Arctic anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Since 2003, I have been Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Before moving to Canada, I was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. I have also held teaching and research posts at the University of Edinburgh, Brunel University, and the University of Cambridge, and was Finland Distinguished Professor at the Thule Institute, University of Oulu. I currently hold a position as visiting Professor of Climate and Society at the University of Greenland and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk. I have been Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, am a Senior Associate Scientist at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland, and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary. I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008.