Writing Workshop: Siberian Studies Working Group
One of the Siberian Studies Working Group’s current projects is a book looking at Siberian infrastructure and the environment. For much of its storied history, Siberia has figured in outsiders’ imaginations as a wild landscape to be tamed by humans. From state-driven projects for the development of 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. The book examines the possibilities, pitfalls, and unfolding legacies of efforts to understand and remake the environment—both built and “natural”—of Siberia. In particular, we focus on how infrastructural projects that sought to conquer Siberia’s remoteness and communities’ perceived isolation often failed in that aim but ultimately produced more complex and interesting states of perpetual anticipation, nostalgia for alternative pasts and futures, and incommensurability—effectively remaking space and time.
This project began as a fall 2019 conference at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin. This spring semester, on May 11th, international scholars of Siberian studies from the US, Russia, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, and the Netherlands continued this work by meeting via Zoom to participate in a virtual book writing workshop. The workshop was hosted by the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin. During the workshop, the group discussed the book manuscript to be submitted for publication this summer 2021 and participated in collaborative writing sessions, working on the chapters' introductions.
The working title for this multi-disciplinary book project is "Promising Siberia: Imagination, Infrastructure, and Environment" edited by Kathryn Graber (Dept of Anthropology, Tatiana Saburova (RSW & Dept of History), and Russell Valentino (Dept of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures). Contributors include: Donatas Brandišauskas (Vilnius U), Nicholas B. Breyfogle (Ohio State U), Craig Campbell (University of Texas), Kathryn Graber (IU), Gertraud Illmeier (U of Vienna), Natalia Krasnoshtanova (Institute of Geography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), Vera Kuklina ( George Washington University), Kinga Nędza-Sikoniowska (Jagiellonian University), Gertjan Plets (Utrecht University), Olga Povoroznyuk (U of Vienna), Nataliia Rodigina (Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University), Tatiana Saburova (IU), Peter Schweitzer (U of Vienna), and Russell Valentino (IU).