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Gerda Henkel

Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences, Petrozavodsk State University, Russian Federation

Associate Professor


Research project: Border Demarcation and Russian Imperial Colonization in the North: The Case of the Borderland Karelia, 17th – 20th Centuries

The current research project, combining local and global contexts of the region’s history, studies an example of Russian state colonization of a multiethnic borderland of the European North in a comparative cross-disciplinary perspective. Primary aims of the projects are to explore, how external border demarcations and border shifts shaped the colonization patterns in the region, economic, social, and cultural processes there. Based on multidisciplinary methodology, the research project utilizes the approaches of social, economic, and cultural history, structural-functional approaches, recent geopolitical theories as well as discussions and modifications of the frontier approach in Western and Russian historiography. It attempts to explore the impact of the environment on the border processes and borderland’s history. The project adopts a comparative perspective with other Northern territories (in particular, Russian Arctic, the Kola peninsular). The project aims at transcending traditional hegemonic frameworks of old political and state narrative interpretations of the borderland’s history.

A full-length study is available here.