209 research outputs found

    Objecting (to) Infrastructure: Ecopolitics at the Ukrainian Ends of the Danube

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    In southern Ukraine, two hydraulic infrastructures continue to exist despite environmentalist campaigns that have exposed them as fragile, broken or unprofitable. The Danube-Dnister Irrigation Project (DDIS), a Soviet mega-project that diverted water from the Danube and turned the Sasyk estuary into a reservoir, receives state funding despite a 1994 ban on its use for irrigation. The Bystre Shipping Canal, built in 2004 despite domestic and international opposition, is losing money but continues to operate. These cases exemplify the material politics of infrastructuring in which infrastructure is understood as an antagonistic process of assembling networks of humans and nonhumans rather than a fixed facility. This approach helps explain how the confluence of unruly coastal matters and the politics of expertise have facilitated these shipping and irrigation infrastructures’ re-embedding in bureaucratic networks. These cases show that obduracy and fragility, as well as visibility and invisibility––conditions that figure prominently in infrastructure studies––should be considered in terms of oscillation rather than as ontologically distinct or static conditions. This analysis also highlights the limits of the modernist search for scientific certainty in resolving environmental conflicts in Ukraine, and some possibilities to experiment politically with new decision-making procedures. This account can thus serve as a “story that intervenes” by pointing beyond reform impulses that re-enact modernist narratives of progress within a strict nature-society divide

    Managing Ambiguous Amphibians: Feral Cows, People, and Place in Ukraine’s Danube Delta

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    This paper analyzes how a herd of feral cattle emerged in the core zone of Ukraine’s Danube Biosphere Reserve and why it still exists despite numerous challenges to the legality of its presence there. Answering these questions requires an analytical approach that begins from the premise that animals, plants, substances, documents, and technologies are active participants in making social and political worlds rather than passive objects of human intervention and manipulation. Drawing together insights from multispecies ethnography, animal geography, amphibious anthropology, and studies of nature protection in former Soviet republics, the author argues that the feral cattle exist because they are part of an amphibious multispecies assemblage in which relations among cattle, elements of the delta’s wetland ecologies, legal norms, and the Reserve managers’ documentation practices have aligned to create an autonomous space for cattle to dwell with minimal human intervention

    The Terrestrialization of Amphibious Life in a Danube Delta \u27Town on Water\u27

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    Visitors to the Danube Delta town of Vylkove, known as the “Ukrainian Venice,” are often disappointed by the condition its 40 kilometers of canals, which frequently resemble over-grown ditches that are often impassible by boat. Consequently, a development organization and town administrators have begun lobbying for funding for a large-scale canal restoration project and for the town’s designation as a heritage site to help in mobilizing funds. However, these tourism-development narratives also assume that all residents can and want to practice an amphibious way of life that prevailed for centuries. Combining analytical frameworks of amphibious anthropology and recent social science literature on water infrastructure helps reveal a) how Vylkovchany’s dwelling practices did not categorically privilege wet over dry (and vice versa) in spite of Enlightenment-inflected narratives of settlement that enact such separations and b) the specific ways in which socialist modernization and postsocialist deindustrialization have modified Vylkovchany’s relations with the Danube’s Kiliia branch and intensified their siltation. This paper makes the case for including ethnographic analyses of terrestrialization as part of an amphibious anthropology and demonstrates the value of amphibious anthropology in pinpointing dynamics of landscape change that should be addressed in designing a restoration project

    Where the Water Sheds: Disputed Deposits at the Ends of the Danube

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    World Bee Day in Ukraine During the Russian Invasion

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    The Place(s) of Moldovanka in the Making of Odessa

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    Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa

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    Through walking streets and talking history, the members of the My Odessa club sense their city as place. History is encountered in buildings, ruins, monuments, and stories as both a diffuse feeling and a dialogic process. The walkers’ practice of exploring nooks and crannies of the city and speaking with local residents is informed by a “large family” form of sociality, and a notion of Odessa as courtyard where space is conceived as commercial. In walking the city, participants subvert and recreate aspects of Soviet and post-Soviet urban space and generate a sense of their city as distinct from a national space

    Interspecies Relations in the Midst of the Russia–Ukraine War

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    Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa

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    Through walking streets and talking history, the members of the My Odessa club sense their city as place. History is encountered in buildings, ruins, monuments, and stories as both a diffuse feeling and a dialogic process. The walkers’ practice of exploring nooks and crannies of the city and speaking with local residents is informed by a “large family” form of sociality, and a notion of Odessa as courtyard where space is conceived as commercial. In walking the city, participants subvert and recreate aspects of Soviet and post-Soviet urban space and generate a sense of their city as distinct from a national space

    Displacing the Delta: Notes on the Anthropology of the Earth\u27s Physical Features

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