March 22, 2022: Webinar “Crossroads, Ice Curtain, and Chokepoint: Bering Strait Over Time”

Webinar with Peter Schweitzer

The Bering Strait, the body of water that both separates and binds together the USA and the Russian Federation, has been an area of heightened world historical significance ever since it formed a land bridge between Northeast Asia and Northwest North America at the end of the last Ice Age that enabled the peopling of the Americas. Despite these deep historical connections, the talk will focus on the region’s more recent history since the late 19th century. This history has been characterized by indigenous cultural contacts, imperial ambitions, resource extraction, as well as infrastructural projects and plans. The story of these entanglements will be told along the lines of several research projects led by the speaker and spanning the last 30 years, ranging from “Traveling Between Continents” to “Moved by the State” to “Building Arctic Futures (InfraNorth)”. The latter, a recently commenced ERC project, focuses on the nexus between transport infrastructures and the well-being of Arctic communities. The Bering Strait is a chokepoint for Arctic maritime traffic between the Atlantic and the Pacific, no matter whether transportation is routed via the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage. While the geopolitical and strategic significance of the Bering Strait has been great throughout the 20th century, the invasion of the Ukraine will undoubtedly lead to making the 80 kilometres separating Russia from its eastern neighbour into even more volatile waters. Notwithstanding these global dimensions, the talk will be anthropological in nature and focus on the local scale.

22nd of March, time 14:00 in HKL, 13:00 in Vienna

University of Helsinki Website

Zoom Link

January 2023: Outreach Position in ERC Project InfraNorth

The ERC project InfraNorth is inviting applications for the position of an outreach expert to communicate and disseminate project related research. Deadline has been extended to February 6. For details, please navigate to the University of Vienna’s job portal.

January 25, 2023: Future Talk: Climate x Change – Polar Silkroad

Kunst Haus Wien will host a podium discussion “Climate x Change – Polar Silkroad” as part of the exhibition “Unseen places“. The exhibition represents the works of Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer and is focusing on the ways in which built infrastructure has an impact on the environment. Sailer has long worked in polar areas. He […]

October 15, 2022: InfraNorth Session at Arctic Circle Conference 2022

Peter Schweitzer, Olga Povoroznyuk and Timothy Heleniak presented their recent research at the InfraNorth session “Arctic Transport Infrastructures and Sustainable Communities” at one of the largest conferences on Arctic policy and research taking place annually in Reykjavik, Iceland. The session was well-attended by researchers, indigenous leaders, representatives of NGOs and governmental bodies from different countries […]

September 19, 2022: Olga Povoroznyuk Succesfully Defended her PhD-Thesis

Olga Povoroznyuk successfully defended her PhD dissertation “Soviet Infrastructure in the Post-Soviet Era? Building a Railroad and Identity along the Baikal–Amur Mainline in East Siberia”. Her cumulative dissertation introduces the notion of transformative infrastructure and focuses on the role of large-scale infrastructures as articulations of state modernization and identity building. The research was supported by […]

August 11, 2022: Article on Roads and Railways for the Journal “Arctic Science”

Interdisciplinary review article on social and environmental consequences of roads and railways led by Olga Povoroznyuk with contributions from W. Vincent, P. Schweitzer and a few other Arctic scholars is now accessible online in the Canadian journal Arctic Science https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/as-2021-0033 The article features six Arctic case studies and is a result of collaboration between social […]