The American Research Institute of the South Caucasus is proud to present its 2021 Spring Lecture Series.
This year’s series showcases the work of three early-career postdoctoral scholars, comprising specialists from the disciplines of ethnography, soil science, and history. The lectures are free and open to all.
April 16, 2021 at 11am EDT/10am CDT
Dr. Ariel Otruba
Sociology and Anthropology Department, Moravian College
“Borderization from the Frontlines: Uncertainty and Abandonment in the Space Between War and Peace”
The August 2008 Russo-Georgian war represents the first time the Ossetian and Abkhazian administrative boundaries were experienced as international borders. The unilateral demarcation of these territories by Russian forces, a process euphemistically called “borderization,” led to restricted freedom of movement, compromised livelihoods, demographic declines, widespread trauma, barriers to important social practices, and a growing mistrust for borderland communities. Multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork also shows how feelings of abandonment are among the chief complaints reported by villagers living on the frontlines of borderization. This presentation considers the precarious conditions of “conflict-affected” communities, who are trapped between opposing security regimes in a space defined by the ambiguity between war the precarious conditions of “conflict-affected” communities and peace, past and future, hope and desolation. Emphasizing the emotional and material conditions of protracted uncertainty exposes the forces of social dislocation and how the future has become one of the major casualties of the conflict.