Russian Space: Concepts, Practices, Representations (RSCPR)

The group is engaged in a multidisciplinary study of Russian attitudes to their own and other people´s /nations´ spaces – including private, public, urban, rural, outer, virtual and shared/contested ones, analysed from literary, linguistic, media, environmental, historical, indigenous, gender, geopolitical and other angles – which can provide insights into the interdependence of Russian space and Russian identity, both at an individual and a state policy level. The group functions within the broad framework of the so-called new spatial history, which “treats space not only as an objectively existing physical reality but also as something subjective and culturally produced” (Bassin et al, eds, Space, Place and Power in Modern Russia, 2010). The group focuses primarily on Russian space as a concept, e.g. through (mental) mapping; on its practical uses, e.g. from a political, economic and environmental perspective; and on its representations in literature, music and visual arts. Research issues to do with the High North are given priority.

During the group's first life cycle (2015-19), RSCPR members organised many research seminars, took part in a number of academic conferences in Norway and abroad, and published the following items (including two recent books by Chekin and Gustafsson, as well as a multiauthored monograph by Hansen, Rogatchevski, Steinholt and Wickström). A collection of articles on the northern impact of the 1917 Russian revolutions, co-edited by Myklebost, J P Nielsen and Rogatchevski, is expected to come out in 2020.

Two PhD students (Anni Lappela of the University of Helsinki and Jacek Szymala of the University of Wrocław) were affiliated to RSCPR, in September-November 2018 (to conduct research) and October 2019 - March 2020 (as an Erasmus trainee) respectively.

Several grants have been secured. Two doctoral theses, began in 2015 and 2016 respectively by Høgetveit and Hansen, have been completed on time. Høgetveit's doctoral degree has already been awarded. Two more doctoral students have recently been employed to conduct their research during the group's next phase of existence (2020-23).

Last but not least, RSCPR members have established a new academic discipline, Svalbard Studies. A special issue of the Nordlit journal, devoted to Svalbard Studies and co-edited by Chekin and Rogatchevski in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Svalbard Treaty, will appear in early 2020.

The group collaborates with the Border Poetics / Border Culture and ENCODE research groups.