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Reassembling the Environmental Archives of the Cold War: Perspectives from the Russian North
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3782-9296
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

To what extent the environmental history of the Arctic can move beyond the

divide between Indigenous peoples and newcomers or vernacular and academic

ways of knowing? The present dissertation answers this question by developing the

notion of an environmental archive. Such an archive does not have particular reference

to a given place but rather it refers to the complex network that marks the relations

between paper documents and human and non-human agencies as they are able to

work together and stabilise the conceptualisation of a variety of environmental

objects. The author thus argues that the environment does not only contain

information about the past but just like any paper (or audio and video) archive is

able to produce it through the relational nature of human-environment interactions.

Through the analysis of five case studies from the Russian North, the reader is

invited to go through various forms of environmental archives which in turn

embrace histories of a number of disciplines such as palaeontology, biology,

anthropology, and medicine. Every case or a “layer” is presented here as a contact

zone where Indigenous and academic forms of knowledge are not opposed to each

other but, on the contrary, are able to interact and consequently affect the global

discussions about the Russian Arctic. This transnational context is pivotal for all the

cases discussed in the dissertation. Moreover, by putting the Cold War with its

tensions between two superpowers at the chronological center of the present work,

the author aims to reveal the multidimensionality of in situ interactions with, for

instance, the paleontological remains or the traces of all-terrain vehicles and their

involvement into broader science transnational cooperations and competitions. As a

result, the heterogeneous archives allow us to reconsider the environmental history

of the Russian North and the wider Arctic and open a new avenue for future research

transcending the geopolitical and epistemic borders of knowledge production.

Abstract [sv]

I vilken grad kan en miljhöhistorisk analys av Arktis undvika klyftan mellan ursprungsfolk och nykomlingar, samt mellan folkliga och akademiska form för vetenskap? Avhandlingen svarar på denna fråga genom att utveckla begreppet ”miljöarkiv.” Ett sådant arkiv hänvisar inte till en särskild plats, men heller till et komplex nätverk som samlar ihop förhållande mellan dokument i papper och båda mänskliga och icke-mänskliga aktörskap. Tillsammans stabiliserar och konceptualiserer de ett antal miljöobjekten. Författaren argumenterar därför att miljö omfattar inte bara information om förtiden men liksom andra form för arkiv (antingen papper-baserat eller elektronisk) kan reproducera förtiden genom att belysa interaktioner mellan människor och natur. Genom fem case studier från det nordliga Ryssland bjudas läsaren på en tur av fem olika miljöarkiv som omfattar olika disciplinära traditioner, t. ex. paleontologi, biolog, antropologi, och medicin. Varje case eller ”lager” presenteras här som kontaktzon var ursprungliga och akademiska form för vetenskap inte nödvändigtvis står i opposition, men tvärtom påverkar varandra, och därmed får inflytelse över diskussioner om det ryska Arktis även på global nivå. Denna transnationella kontext är avgörande för alla cases i avhandlingen. Genom att sätta det kalla kriget i analysens centrum (kronologisk sett), med fokus på spänningarna mellan stormakterna, hoppas författaren att belysa de flerdimensionella interaktionerna mellan t. ex. paleontologiska fynd och spår från bandfordon och hur dessa interaktioner var kopplad till bredare frågor kring multinationella samarbete och konkurrens. En så heterogen uppfattning av arkivet öppnar för nye perspektiv på miljöhistorien av båda det ryska Arktis och Arktis set i sin helhet, samt öppna för nya forskningsfrågor som överskrider nuvarande geopolitiske och epistemologiska gränser innanför kunskapsproduktion

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2021. , p. 35
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 2127
Keywords [en]
Environmental Archive, Russian Arctic, Encounters, Cold War, Indigenous and Academic Ways of Knowing
Keywords [sv]
Miljöarkiv, ryska Arktis, möten, det kalla kriget, ursprungliga och akademiska kunskapssystem.
National Category
History Social Anthropology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295775ISBN: 978-91-7873-931-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-295775DiVA, id: diva2:1557716
Public defence
2021-08-20, Videolänk:https://kth-se.zoom.us/j/62002693432, Du som saknar dator /datorvana kontakta history@abe.kth.se / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance, Stockholm, 16:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 716211Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Reading Traces and Writing Indigenous Ethnohistories in the Russian North
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reading Traces and Writing Indigenous Ethnohistories in the Russian North
2022 (English)In: Histories of Anthropology Annual, University of Nebraska Press, 2022Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Nebraska Press, 2022
National Category
History Social Anthropology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295781 (URN)
Projects
GRETPOL
Note

QC 20210531

Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
2. Between Utopia and Armageddon: Novaya Zemlya as Contact Zone
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Between Utopia and Armageddon: Novaya Zemlya as Contact Zone
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
History Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295782 (URN)
Projects
GRETPOL
Note

QC 20210531

Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2022-07-01Bibliographically approved
3. Traces on the Tundra Skin: Politics and Ontologies of Conservation in the Soviet North
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Traces on the Tundra Skin: Politics and Ontologies of Conservation in the Soviet North
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
History Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295783 (URN)
Note

QC 20210531

Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2022-07-01Bibliographically approved
4. (Re-)Making the Homo Polaris: Human Acclimatization to Arctic Environments and Soviet Ideologies in Northern Medical Laboratories
Open this publication in new window or tab >>(Re-)Making the Homo Polaris: Human Acclimatization to Arctic Environments and Soviet Ideologies in Northern Medical Laboratories
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
History Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295784 (URN)
Projects
GRETPOL
Note

QC 20210531

Available from: 2021-05-27 Created: 2021-05-27 Last updated: 2022-07-01Bibliographically approved
5. Environmental Encounters: Woolly Mammoth, Indigenous Communities and Metropolitan Scientists in the Soviet Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Encounters: Woolly Mammoth, Indigenous Communities and Metropolitan Scientists in the Soviet Arctic
2019 (English)In: Polar Record, ISSN 0032-2474, E-ISSN 1475-3057, Vol. 55, no 3, p. 142-153Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article investigates how in the Soviet Arctic researchers and indigenous communities searched and understood the mammoth before and during the Cold War. Based on a vast number of published and unpublished sources as well as interviews with scholars and reindeer herders, this article demonstrates that the mammoth as a paleontological find fusing together features of extinct and extant species, plays an in-between role among various environmental epistemologies. The author refers to moments of interactions among these different actors as “environmental encounters,” which comprise and engagement with the physical, political, social and cultural environments of the Arctic. These encounters shape the temporal stabilisations of knowledge which enable the mammoth to live its post-extinct life. The article combines approaches from environmental history and anthropology, history of science and indigenous studies showing the social vitality of a “fossil object”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2019
Keywords
mammoth, environmental encounters, extinct/extant, in-betweenness, Soviet Arctic
National Category
History Social Anthropology Cultural Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-259925 (URN)10.1017/S0032247419000299 (DOI)000512995000004 ()2-s2.0-85072210527 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20191001

Available from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2022-06-26Bibliographically approved

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Arzyutov, Dmitry V.

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