Konstantin Tsvetanov Georgiev

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rice U.

Grant number

Gr. 10217

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Georgiev, Konstantin (Rice U.) "Environmental science after socialism: Sociopolitical change and environmental science in post-Soviet Siberia"

In this project, I focus on the fragile balance of environmental care, industrial use, and scientific knowledge as it was established on the shores of Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia. To provide a broader understanding of the contemporary legacies of Soviet environmental science, I look at the concrete material and discursive practices through which the lake’s water was conceptualized as an object to be studied, cared for, and used. I apply my anthropological training and my extensive experience with archives to conduct a longitudinal study that highlights both the history and contemporary afterlives of a scientific institution located at Lake Baikal. In this way I demonstrate how the legacies of Soviet science continue to play role in contemporary environmental politics and how the balance between conservation, industry, and science changed with the sociopolitical transformation following the fall of the USSR. Such framework additionally allows me to traces the ways in which former scientists understand the comparative strengths and weaknesses of environmental protections in Russia between planned and market economies and, in effect, between socialism and capitalism.