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Workshop ‘Technology, Natural Resources and Crises in the Past and Present of Europe and Beyond’

Laboratory for Environmental and Technological History hosts the Workshop ‘Technology, Natural Resources and Crises in the Past and Present of Europe and Beyond’

The Workshop ‘Technology, Natural Resources and Crises in the Past and Present of Europe and Beyond’ was held at the Laboratory for Environmental and Technological History from 21-22 October, 2016. It was meant to bring under scholarly discussion projects focusing on the growing concern of human interaction with the natural environment and its associated challenges. The workshop therefore gave a look into the past of this phenomenon with the lens of environmental and technological history and the central role Europe and developments within it had played over the last centuries in matters encompassing natural resources in their different forms, exploration, extraction, and protection among other things. The partners for this workshop were the National Research University Higher School of Economics-St. Petersburg, Tensions of Europe Network, Foundation for the History of Technology and the University of Arhus.

From the Higher School of Economics, the Head for the Depart of History, Professor Alexander Semyonov graced the opening session of the Workshop.

The two-day workshop covered themes such as water and landscapes, mining, natural resources in the history of Russia, crises and sustainability of resources and colonialism and trans-national connections. It also gave room for young career researchers whose presentations equally resonated the various themes covered among whom were Vasiliy Borovoy, David Damtar and Ekaterina Kalemeneva from the Department of History, HSE. St. Petersburg.

Bringing academics across the continent and beyond with broad backgrounds within the humanities and social sciences, scholars interacted on various matters of rising tensions of humans interaction with the environment whereby focus was designated to natural resources such as water, forests, minerals, land and space among others covering the taped and untapped, the exhausted and the endangered, theirsustainability, the techno-politics and economics of these and how they have been perceived by various narrativesover time.Fascinating themes covered the geographical location of Russia and the Soviet Union, the Artic regions, Central and other parts of Europe, the Global Southas well as topics of transnational and trans-continental perspectives.

The Workshop also witnessed the opening of the ‘Laboratory for Environmental and Technological History’ at the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg led by Professor Julia Lajus and other Professors within the Department of History, HSE, St. Petersburg.

 Thematic concentration of presenters from outside Russia covered Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Scandinavia, the Global South and various trans-regional and transnational projects within the environmental and technologicalhistoryby Professors from universities across Europe and America. Such among others were Urban Wragberg from the Artic University of Norway, Douglas Weiner from the University of Arizona, Luisa Sousa from the University of Lisbon, Deniz Karakas from Sabanci University, Maria Paula Diogo from NOVA University of Lisbon, Vincent Lagendijk from Maastricht University and Erik van der Vleuten from Eindhoven University. 

Professors from the Department of History in the Higher School of Economics including Julia A. Lajus, Marina Loskutova, Alexandra Bekasova and Elena Kochetkova as well as other Professors from Universities within Russia such as Andrei Volodin of the Moscow State University and Alexey Kraikovsky of the European University at St. Petersburg and many othershad their projects coveringnaturalresources of both the geographical region of Russia and the Soviet Union, how these resources are or were conceived, understood and managed and the way they feature transnationalism included some of the major discourses.

It was finally crowned with a Round Table;‘Technology, Natural Resources and Crises in the Past and Present of Europe and Beyond; Opportunities for Collaboration’, within which participants brainstormed together the presentations, integrated them into a common program upon which subsequent gathering and research attentions of ‘Tensions of Europe’ could follow as well asputting the ‘tensions’ various research interests and foci have raised into the broad discourse of Environmental and Technological history of the globe with Europe at the center stage.