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I am an anthropologist studying the experience of long-term conflict and uncertainty. My research is based in Georgia's contested borderland with Abkhazia, and aims to bring novel directions to long standing issues of conflict and displacement through more recent theoretical and methodological strands that capture material and spatial relations of human experience.
My current book project, Freezing the Conflict: Struggles for Uneventful Lives in the Disputed Margins of Georgia, examines the everyday eventfulness and materiality of a "frozen conflict." Scholars and policy makers have categorized the series of conflicts in the former USSR as “frozen,” by which they mean ones characterized by a situation of stalemate and lack of progress towards a settlement. The Georgia-Abkhazia conflict is one of them, but, like other spaces of long-term conflict, it is anything but static. My project focuses on this conflict zone, on a de facto borderland where a community of displaced Georgians—from Gali region—have made lives on both sides of a militarized divide by navigating protracted ambivalence and contingency for almost three decades. Through a study of contingency and cross-border mobility, Freezing the Conflict investigates this overlooked dynamism and its everyday materiality. At a time of ongoing wars in the post-Soviet territories as well as refugee "crises" and rising walls in the Global North, it aims to shed light on the complexity of lives and spaces under protracted conflict, and explores grounded possibilities of conflict resolution and peace.
My next project expands on my current research by exploring spaces of conflict in methodologically innovative ways. Infrastructural Mobilities: Mapping and Sensing a Conflict Zone uses infrastructure and mobility as an entrée to capture the experiential, spatial, and historical entanglements of conflict zones. Through collaborative mapping, photographic engagements, and digital story-telling, Infrastructural Mobilities seeks to open up new analytical pathways to research on conflict that is generally disciplinary specific.
Enguri Bridge, 2015
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