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Accepted Paper:

Tempering Seeds with Cold: Temperature and Temporality in Building Agricultural Infrastructures in the Arctic  
Dmitry Arzyutov (The Ohio State University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the intertwined notions of temperature and temporality in building Arctic agricultural projects.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents a historical anthropological account of how the (Russian) Arctic got involved in a number of scientific experiments on polar agriculture. Despite its remoteness, "eternal" cold, and the image of the "uncultivated," the North has, however, a great potential for building and maintaining the global agricultural infrastructures. The notions of temporality and temperature which are at the centre of my reflections are not only etymologically intertwined, but also have an epistemic intersection (cf. Rovelli 2018) which is of importance for understanding the histories of Arctic agricultural projects. I argue that human attempts to control seed growing seasons through multiple regulations including air and soil temperatures constitute the polar agricultures and epistemologies of food security in the North and beyond. In the first part of my paper, I examine the history of agricultural experiments with cultivating plants in the frozen ground in the High North and how they have eventually changed the environmental profile of the Russian Arctic. The second part of the paper is dedicated to a parallel history of building underground permafrost seed, fish and meat storages which antropocenically allow to slow down vegetation period and organic rotting. The junction of the two fed into the unique contemporary project of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault built in an abandoned mine which serves today as the planetary agricultural archive poetically called the "doomsday ark".

Panel P180
Seminal matters of planetary uncertainty: The transformational ecologies of material infrastructures and agricultural practices [SIEF panel]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -