Ola Gunhildrud Berta

Position

Postdoctoral Fellow, MSCA SEAS fellow

Affiliation

Research

I'm a political anthropologist who has worked on the Marshall Islands since I began my MA project at the University of Oslo in 2013. I earned my Ph.D. in 2022, also at UiO, with a thesis that explored how Marshall Islanders use the culture concept as a gateway to larger discussions of togetherness, meaningful work, and cultural and political in/dependence. I show how the idea of a shared culture is instrumental for setting in motion economic development projects, a strategy for battling social inequality, a framework for moral thinking, and an important source for the cultuvation of a sense of autonomy in a postcolonial situation.

My current project is part of the SEAS programme and concentrates on tuna diplomacy in Oceania. I will explore how the member states to the international organisation Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) cooperate to manage ocean resources within their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ). This is a collaboration that has made the PNA a stronger negotiator on the global political scene than any of its member states would be alone. The project will provide an in-depth study of the ways in which the PNA helps each individual member state to assert its sovereignty by gaining control of its own ocean and the resources it holds.

Parallel to my doctoral work, I've studied the missionary history and contemporary Christianity on the Marshall Islands, and have published research that analyses how early missionaries figure into the religious and political landscape today. This work explores the relation between culture and Christianity and fits into a more general interest I have for notions of culture, togetherness, and meaning-making.

Teaching

2023 (spring). Lecturer in the social studies section of BLLEDE in the kindergarten tearcher program at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), Vestfold (30 ETCS).

2023 (spring). Lecturer in the social studies section of SRLE deltid in the kindergarten tearcher program at USN, Vestfold (20 ETCS).

2022–2023. Lecturer in the social studies section of SRLE in the kindergarten tearcher program at USN, Vestfold (20 ETCS).

2022–2023. Lecturer in the social studies section of SRLE in the kindergarten tearcher program at USN, Porsgrunn (20 ETCS).

2022 (spring). Guest lecturerer in the social studies section of SRLE in the kindergarten tearcher program at USN, Vestfold.

2022 (spring). Lecturer in the social studies section of Mangfoldforsterkingen in the kindergarten tearcher program at USN, Vestfold (20 ETCS).

2022 (spring). Six weeks of practice teaching at Ringerike vgs. (High School), teaching social studies, sociology and social anthropology, and English.

2021 (autumn). Six weeks of practice teaching at Sokna ungdomsskole (Junior High School) teaching social studies and religion.

2017 (autumn). Seminar leader in SOSANT1000 Introduction to Social Anthropology at the Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) (10 ETCS).

2017 (autumn). Seminar leader in SOSANT1400 Cosmology and World Views at UiO (10 ETCS).

2017 (spring). Seminar leader in SOSANT1090 History of Anthropology at UiO (10 ETCS).

2016 (spring). Seminar leader in SOSANT1200 Political Anthropology at UiO (10 ETCS).

Publications
Textbook
Academic article
Book review
Doctoral dissertation

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.

Vitenskapelig formidling

2022 (november). “Det lumske mangfoldsbegrepet i rammeplanen.” Samfunssfagskonferansen i Alta.

2022 (november). “Evig fellesskaping: Opplæring om, gjennom og for fellesskap, i barnehagen og på universitetet.” Erfaringskonferansen i Porsgrunn.

2022 (juni). “Fish scales: The relational work of fish in the RMI.” Presented at the workshop Fluid Commons at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

2022 (mars). “From Commons to Commoners: How Anthropological Theory and the Law Made Landowners in the Marshall Islands.” Presented at the workshop Future Commons at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

2019 (juni). “The economies of culture in the Marshall Islands.” Presentation at the Staff Seminar for the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

2019 (januar). “An oceanic history of the Marshall Islands.” For the Life Cycle of Container Ships workshop, “Global Ethnographic explorations into Maritime Working Lives” at the Maritime Museum, Oslo, Norway.

2018 (oktober). “Digging in the Crates: Multi-this-and-that-Fieldwork in Hawaiʽi, the Marshall Islands, and in the Archives.” Presented at the Lunch Seminar Series at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

2018 (september). “Weave or Die: Handicraft and (Inter)Dependence in the Marshall Islands.” For the workshop, “Dependence, gender, and kinship,” at the University of Oslo.

2017 (juni). Co-convener with Camelia Dewan for the panel “Ethnographic explorations of ecological transformation of landscapes under commercialization,” Nordic Geographers Meeting (NGM) in Stockholm, Sweden.

2017 (juni). “High Water Everywhere: Climate Change and Coconut Commerce on Epoon Atoll.” Nordic Geographers Meeting, for the panel “Ethnographic explorations of ecological transformation of landscapes under commercialization” in Stockholm, Sweden.