“Through the Wilds: Industrialism and River Life in the Siberian North”

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Main contributors
REEI; Russian Studies Workshop
Craig Campbell, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin.The Lower Tunguska—a tributary in Siberia that flows into the great Yenisei river—was identified several decades ago as a potential site for a massive hydroelectric dam. If the dam were to be built, it would dramatically transform the river and dislocate thousands of people who live in the flood zone. To this day the dam has not been built, as a result, an entire generation of villagers has had to learn to dwell in the suspended temporality of a deferred catastrophe. Regardless of the construction, drift, and crash of industrial projects, indigenous Evenkis in the area have maintained and adapted their traditional lifeways under dramatically different forms of government and social life. The indeterminacies of future of events—especially catastrophe and planned landscape transformation on grand industrial scales—challenge Evenkis to adapt in a chaotic world and call upon scholars to attend to the entanglements of hope, dread, and anticipation.Craig Campbell’s second book, Agitating Images: Photography Against History in Indigenous Siberiawas published by the University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2014. He is currently working on the cultural history of an unbuilt hydro-electric dam in Central Siberia, the weird time of a shadow, re-mediations of socialist encounters, and the aesthetics of damaged, degraded, and manipulated photographs. Craig is a member several curatorial groups including Ethnographic Terminalia and Writing with Light, the later explores the persistent mattering of photography and photo-essays to cultural anthropology.
Russian Studies Workshop
Russian and East European Institute

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