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Accepted Paper:

From the Run of Rivers, to the Race into Space: A Cold War History of Navigation  
David Anderson (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will present an ethnohistorical account of Arctic navigation with a special emphasis on the history of the study of hydrology and orography to the design and refashioning of the traditional Pomor amphibious boat – the koch’.

Paper long abstract:

Early Russian expansion and colonisation across North Asia was based on a refined knowledge of Arctic coastlines and internal waterways. This navigational knowledge was co-authored and co-enacted with indigenous craftsmen. The subsequent voyages of trade, conquest, and discovery were mediated by the round wooden koch’ – a flexible rudderless vessel which could portage easily between rivers and sit confidently in the ice. The koch’ gained a new lease on life in the second half of the 20th century, as it became an icon for Russian/Soviet ingenuity said to be parallel in form and function to the space craft. The new language of discovery and exploration pointed to an interethnic future where crafts and skills leapt stages of technical evolution to create a decolonising commonwealth of science. The paper will put set this recent future vision into the reality of rights claims in the circumpolar North.

Panel P03a
Collaborations and Confrontations during the Cold War and Into the Future
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -