About the Laboratory
The Laboratory for Environmental and Technological History (LETH) was founded in 2016 as a division of the Center for Historical Research of the Department of History. It is an interdisciplinary center for research in the history of environment and technology. Research at LETH also includes history of science which contributes to understanding of technological development and functioning of nature and natural resources.
Our research is geographically broad and specifically emphasizes transnational history of the North and the Arctic as well as the Baltic Sea region. We also partly address the history of the Global South and the BRICS countries. Environmental and technological history is in high demand in large international projects including those connected with the current policies of use of natural resources, climate change, and socio-technical systems.
The research agenda of the LETH is built around the following themes:
- History of exploring and exploiting natural resources, landscapes and climate of Russia and neighboring countries;
- History of exploration and sustainable development of the Arctic and the North;
- History of the oceans and the use of their resources;
- History of rivers, the role of rivers in the economy, culture and urban development in Russia and neighboring countries;
- History of transport and mobility, infrastructure and technology transfer, technologies of resource exploration;
- History of natural and cultural heritage.
The mission of the LETH is to advance the discussion on the interaction of environment and humans, technology and humans, and environment and technology. Our research contributes into understanding past changes via an interdisciplinary lens and discussing future challenges. We are deeply involved into cooperation with Russian and foreign scholars, governmental and non-governmental organizations fostering an interdisciplinary dialogue.
We advance the research of environmental and technological history via the variety of activities. The LETH supports its staff in the publication of their research and taking part in numerous international academic events. We also organize a regular seminar to invite distinguished and early career scholars as speakers and hold workshops and conferences. The staff of the LETH is actively engaged in the activities of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH), Research Network on History, Technology and Europe “Tensions of Europe” (ToE), and other professional networks.
Currently, the largest project of the LETH supported by the Russian Science Foundation is the project: “Natural Resources in History of Russia: Economic Institutes, Communities of Experts and Infrastructures” led by the Head of LETH Dr. Julia Lajus.
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