Inuit Genealogy

Currently working on a research project related to Canadian and Greenland Inuit with R0gMedia in Berlin. The diagram above is a genealogical diagram made in the mid 1950s by anthropologist Jean Malaurie, the first of its kind. It’s a hand made radial drawing, Malaurie has a whole series of them in his apartment in Paris, along with his extensive personal archive of research materials including photos, films, notebooks, drawings. While the broader aims of the project are to find an institution willing to host the collection, I’m trying to make an digital artefact out of this diagram that could bring the information alive and demonstrate how historical anthropological materials can be made relevant and contextualised for present and future generations. DIS2012 published a paper on this project for a workshop about slow technology. Slow technology DIS2012


About johnfass

bringing you curiosities, rarities and marvels wherever we find them


  1. Pingback: Inuit Genealogy | Hey Analyst!

  2. Reblogged this on arcticfoxfire and commented:
    This catches my attention visually – I’ll share it with Inuit students of jewellery design – and for the hopefulness of returning information gathered ABOUT a people TO those people in ways that put its continued use into their own hands. Inuit communities have been greatly studied by non-Inuit, and there is now a tense relationship between researchers and the researched. I hear calls from Inuit for more investigation into various subjects, alongside remarks about Southern investigators who come north to build their careers, and do not leave meaningful, accessible, relevant ideas and data behind.

  3. Pingback: Radial Graph | Alterscapes

    • Not sure I would say they’re the first examples of radial genealogy diagrams, I’m sure there are precedents. They are the first genealogies drawn up of this particular tribal grouping of the Northern Greenland Inuit. So; more the content than the form that is new. An interesting point you make about technologically mediated visualisation tools. I suppose you could argue that there is a direct engagement with the material and something very direct about not only putting pen to paper but designing the information structure from scratch. I suspect that if you tried to do this in the field today using a computer you would have some difficulties in the extreme conditions of the arctic environment.

  4. Marion Love

    This is fascinating work. Would there be any geneologies of Inuit from the Baffin area, in particular, Pond Inlet and Igloolik?

  5. Pingback: Inuit Genealogy – Paul Greer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: