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International workshop “Siberia: Infrastructure and Environment” (Berlin, October 5–7, 2018)

For much of its storied history, Sibir’ has figured in outsiders’ imaginations as a wild landscape to be tamed by humans. From state-driven projects to develop railroads and telecommunication lines to cinematic and literary depictions of powerful rivers, deep mines, and virgin forests, Siberia has in many ways been defined by infrastructure and environment. This interdisciplinary workshop organized by Indiana University will focus on the possibilities, pitfalls, and unfolding legacies of efforts to understand and remake the environment—both built and “natural”— of Siberia. In particular, we seek to bridge the environmental humanities and science and technology studies. By holding this workshop at Indiana University’s Europe Gateway in Berlin, we aim to better integrate expertise among European, American, and Russian scholars of Siberia. To this end we seek papers specifically from scholars based in Europe and Russia.
Examples of possible topics include:
– The social history of a specific landform, such as a mountain, lake, river, or cave
– Development of specific scientific fields in Siberia, such as permafrost science or forestry
– The Soviet space program and biosphere projects in Siberia
– The social effects of water engineering projects
– The development of telecommunications or other systems of long-distance communication
– Oil and gas exploration and their effects on Siberian communities
– Ethnographic, historical, or literary accounts of roads, railways, bridges, shipping routes, etc.

At the workshop, we will discuss pre-circulated papers of approximately 15 pages (approx. 6000 words), which will be due by September 1, 2018. Please send a brief proposal (up to one page) describing your project to the Organizing Committee at and The working languages of the workshop will be Russian and English. If you submit your proposal in Russian, please include an abstract in English.

Deadline for proposals: April 15, 2018. Decisions will be announced by May 1. Limited travel funds may be available. Graduate students are especially encouraged to apply.
Organizing Committee: Kathryn E. Graber (Indiana University); Tatiana Saburova (Moscow Higher School of Economics and Indiana University); and Russell Valentino (Indiana University). Join our growing research network in Siberian Studies at


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