17 episodes

A podcast about nomadism and nomadic peoples, around the world and throughout history.

Digital Nomads Maggie Freeman

    • History
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

A podcast about nomadism and nomadic peoples, around the world and throughout history.

    The Sámi in "Frozen" Pt II: Interview with Niina Niskanen

    The Sámi in "Frozen" Pt II: Interview with Niina Niskanen

    The traditional folklore and animistic beliefs of the Sámi, the Indigenous nomadic peoples of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia, are under-studied and their cultural significance rarely acknowledged, even in the Scandinavian countries where Sámi traditions have intermingled with mainstream ones. The spread of Christianity and the influence of Christian missionaries in the Scandinavian north have especially distorted and shaped the reception and transmission of Sámi religious beliefs and practices in the modern era. The traditional Sámi religion recently gained widespread attention and reconsideration from a somewhat unexpected source, however, thanks to the incorporation of elements of Sámi folklore in Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen movie series. In this episode, artist and folklorist Niina Niskanen joins me to discuss her research into Sámi religious systems, folklore and oral culture, the cultural impacts of Sámi beliefs on mainstream Scandinavian society, how Sámi folklore traditions are represented in mass media, and how pop culture artifacts like Disney's Frozen have prompted a resurgence of interest in Sámi folklore and introduced Sámi culture to a new audience.
    This episode is part two of a two-part series looking at the Sámi in Disney's Frozen movies; part one, focusing on the making of Frozen II, can be listened to here: https://digitalnomads.buzzsprout.com/1639870/10409849-the-sami-in-frozen-pt-i-interview-with-aili-keskitalo

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 30 min
    The Sámi in "Frozen" Pt I: Interview with Aili Keskitalo

    The Sámi in "Frozen" Pt I: Interview with Aili Keskitalo

    Despite the box-office and critical success of Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2013 film Frozen, it also drew criticism and backlash for how it incorporated elements of the culture and heritage of the Sámi, the Indigenous people of northern Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Russia. Sámi representatives had not been consulted in the making of Frozen, and the film's use of elements of Sámi culture such as music and clothing came as a surprise to the Sámi community. In response, when the film's sequel was announced, Sámi organizers forged a partnership with Walt Disney Animation Studios in which a group of Sámi experts offered creative consultation and input on the representation of the Sámi in Frozen 2. In this episode, I speak with Aili Keskitalo, who helped organize the collaboration with Walt Disney Animation Studios during her tenure as President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway, about working with WDAS, Sámi politics, the impact of the Frozen films on the Sámi community, and the importance of telling Indigenous stories with Indigenous voices.

    The agreement signed between Sámi representatives and Walt Disney Animation Studios is available here: https://nowtoronto.com/movies/news-features/disney-frozen-2-indigenous-culture-sami

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 36 min
    The Fremen in "Dune": Interview with Dr. Kara Kennedy

    The Fremen in "Dune": Interview with Dr. Kara Kennedy

    Despite being set in the distant future on a remote desert planet, the story of resource extraction, power, politics, ecology, and religion told in Frank Herbert's sci-fi series Dune bears distinct parallels to real-world history and events. One example of Herbert's real-life inspirations comes in the characters of the Fremen, who Herbert based on both the Bedouin in the Middle East and Native American peoples. How are nomadic Indigenous peoples incorporated into and represented in Herbert's fictional universe, and what can we learn about real people and their history from these fictionalized representations? In this episode, I'm joined by Dune expert Dr. Kara Kennedy to discuss the Fremen of Dune , the inspirations and intentions behind the novels, Orientalism and literary representations of Islam and the Middle East, and what science fiction can teach us about both history and the future.

    Dr. Kennedy's book Women’s Agency in the Dune Universe: Tracing Women’s Liberation through Science Fiction is available here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-89205-0
    Dr. Kennedy writes articles about Dune aimed at a general audience on her blog here: https://dunescholar.com/
    Follow Dr. Kennedy on Twitter @drkarakennedy and @dunescholar

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 51 min
    Romani Representation in Pop Culture: Interview with Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez

    Romani Representation in Pop Culture: Interview with Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez

    Roma figures have been an essential part of European folklore, myths, and literary traditions for centuries, with writers from Cervantes to Shakespeare to Victor Hugo drawing on the stereotype of the free-spirited, bohemian "Gypsy." Post-World War II, Roma characters began to appear in a new literary medium: American comic books. Roma heroes and villains alike fill the pages of DC and Marvel comics, with iconic characters like Dr. Doom, Magneto, Scarlet Witch, and Nightcrawler depicted as Roma.  Almost exclusively written and drawn by non-Romani, however, these characters are often flawed or stereotypical, or, in recent years, they've been stripped of their Roma identity. Despite this, Roma comic book characters have become an important source of inspiration and empowerment for Roma youth around the globe. In this episode, Roma human rights activist and pop culture expert Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez joins me to talk about depictions of Romani characters in comic books, film and TV, the use of Roma identity as a literary trope, and comics as a tool of empowerment for minority groups.

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 50 min
    Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Interview with Dr. Kristina Richardson

    Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Interview with Dr. Kristina Richardson

    Medieval Arabic sources are full of references to the Banu Sasan (Sons of Sasan) and the Ghuraba' (Strangers), an enigmatic but captivating group who begged, told fortunes, trained animals, and practiced medicine throughout the Islamic world from the mid-7th century onwards. These groups constitute peoples who would later come to be known as the Roma. Although they both produced their own texts and were written about by outsiders, relatively little scholarship has been conducted into the Roma in the Middle East. In this episode, Dr. Kristina Richardson joins me to talk about her new book Roma in the Medieval Islamic World: Literacy, Culture, and Migration (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021). Drawing on a wide variety of literary and archaeological evidence to illuminate the practices, languages, and lived experiences of the Roma in the Middle Ages, Dr. Richardson's book argues for a central role of the Roma in medieval culture and society. We discuss nomadism and mobility among the medieval Roma, their literary and artistic outputs, languages, trades, relationships with outsiders, and contemporary issues affecting the study of the Roma in the Middle East today.

    More about Dr. Richardson's work and research:
    https://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/~krichardson/Welcome.html
    Dr. Richardson's book is available here:
    https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/roma-in-the-medieval-islamic-world-9780755635788/

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 42 min
    Bordering the Bedouin

    Bordering the Bedouin

    Contemporary issues like the refugee crisis, climate refugees, and global restrictions on movement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought into stark relief the extent to which our movements, lives, and worldviews are governed by national borders and boundary-making. But these borders and their associated militarization and security infrastructures are a recent phenomenon, the legacy of 20th-century wars and colonialism. Modern borders are also often the result of complex, disputed negotiation processes between governments and other authorities, which rarely take into consideration the local populations living in border zones.
    What happens when these modern border-making processes interact with nomadic peoples? How is pastoralism affected and circumscribed by nation-state borders and boundary regimes? This episode discusses histories of border formation in the modern Middle East in relation to nomadic pastoralists - the Bedouin - specifically in Iraq and Israel. I talked to a range of scholars working on these topics, and you'll hear from them throughout the episode. We also talk about the effects of these borders on the Bedouin today, as well as evidence for Bedouin alternatives to borders and maps. 

    Music in this episode:
    Desert City by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3639-desert-city
    License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

    • 1 hr 13 min

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