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Laboratory for the Inter-disciplinary Study of Space

Contract number
Time span of the project
Invited researcher
2021 - 2022 Bassin Mark
Number of staff members
scientific publications
General information

In modern humanities, a major role is played by the spatial turn. Reflections on the impact of space on social structures can be find in works issued in the period of Antiquity to the Annales school, but it has been only recently that the study of space is becoming an independent programme of the humanities research. Within the project, we have chosen the regions of the Urals and Siberia in the period from the 19th to the 21th century, since in the specified chronological period, on these territories large-scale modernisation projects were implemented that played and are still playing a key role in the country's economy and were a space of interaction of a number of identities.

Name of the project: The human and the changing space of the Urals and Siberia

Goals and objectives

The primary objective of the project is the representation of space as an actor of change of various social structures and the study of the way the human can create and transform space, both at the material level and at the level of imagination and visions on the basis of which modernisation and transformation practices and policies were applied. The project presupposes a study of space as a social construct. The human not only resides in space but also constantly transforms it at the physical level and at the level of symbols. It might be said that it is namely by virtue of the human that geography transforms into space.

The study of the human in the changing space of the Urals and Siberia will be conducted within the boundaries of three key domains that reflect the primary components of the interaction of society and space (territory):

  1. It is important to pay attention to the agency of space itself and its physical characteristics that engage in interaction with social actors in the process of exploration of territory. In the first instance, it is environmental factors – the landscape, the climate, natural resources – that are in the research focus in environmental history.
  2. A complex research in the proposed scope requires an analysis of the perception of space by society: cultural features of various ethnic groups, scientific knowledge, and optics applied by scientific institutions in the investigation and exploration of the territory of the Urals and Siberia.
  3. The result of interaction between society and space is the corresponding transformations of both components of the interaction that formed a new «identity space». Methodologically the project will be based on approaches used in historical geography, the sociology of space, the study of collective memory, STS.

The practical value of the study
Projected research results: 

As a result of the project, we will issue a series of scientific publications, deliver presentations at conferences, stage international conferences on the project topic, create an electronic collection of documents on the history of the Urals and Siberia, compile a collective monograph, launch a master's degree programme and a new interdisciplinary journal called «EnviroTech». The project will allow to unite researchers of the Urals, Siberia, and the European part of Russia with foreign colleagues.

The implementation of the project will help to integrate the international experience of interaction between humanities and natural science knowledge in the research of spaces (urban, landscape, environmental, socio-cultural) and their perceptions in imagination, visions as well as policies and practices adopted on their basis.

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