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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
September 24, 2017
Canadian Excellence
Kaleidoscopic Odessa: History and Place in Contemporary Ukraine

Dr. Tanya Richardson

Associate Professor (Currently On Leave)

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.3865
Fax: 519-884-8854
Office Location: DAWB 5-120B (beside DAWB 5-120)
Office Hours: Email professor/by appointment only
Academic Background

BA (1995) University of British Columbia

MPhil (2000) and PhD (2005) University of Cambridge


My current research addresses the politics of nature and environmentalism in the Odessa region of Southern Ukraine. Since 2009, I have been carrying out SSHRC-funded research in the Danube Delta town of Vilkovo on residents’ and nonresidents’ changing relationships with silt, water, fish, reeds, and birds in the context of the creation of a transboundary biosphere reserve and a rapidly transforming political economy.  A second project examines the changing strategies of environmental activists in the Tatarbunary District in their struggles to dismantle a failed Soviet-era Irrigation project and restore Lake Sasyk as a saltwater estuary. I am also working with Gisa Weszkalnys to develop an anthropological approach to the study of natural resources that links an ethnographic approach with insights from posthumanist theory on the distributed nature of materiality. Previously I conducted research on urban place-making practices, memory, and cosmopolitanism in the Black Sea port of Odessa. 


Forthcoming. The Politics of Multiplication in a Failed Soviet Irrigation Project, Or, How Sasyk Has Been Kept from the Sea, Ethnos.

2015 Conflict and Conservation in Ukraine's Danube Delta: On the Limits of Liberalism in Participatory Environmental Governance, Development and Change 46(3).

2015. (In)Accessible Land: The Changing Practices and Regulation of Gardening in the Reedbeds of Ukraine’s Danube Delta, in The Biopolitics of the Danube Delta: Nature, History, Policies. Eds. Kristof van Assche and Constantin Iordachi. Lexington Books.

2014 Odessa's Two Big Differences (and few small ones). Life after the Maidan and May 2. September 1.

2014. (with Gisa Weszkalnys) Resource Materialities: New Anthropological Perspectives on Natural Resource Environments, Anthropological Quarterly 87(1):5-30.

2008. Kaleidoscopic Odessa: History and Place in Contemporary Ukraine. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

2006. Living Cosmopolitanism? Tolerance, Religion and Local Identity in Odessa, in The Postsocialist Religious Question: Faith and Power in Central Asia and East-Central Europe. pp. 213-240. ed. Chris Hann. Lit: Berlin.

2005. The Place(s) of Moldovanka in the Making of Odessa, The Anthropology of East Europe Review. Fall: 72-89.

2005. Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa, Ethnology 44 (1): 13-33.

2004. Disciplining the Past in Post-Soviet Ukraine: Memory and History in Schools and Families, Politics, Religion and Memory: The Past Meets the Present in Contemporary Europe. pp.109-135. eds. Frances Pine, Deema Kaneff and Haldis Haukanes. Lit: Munster.

2002. Along the Roads of Family Histories. (in Russian and Ukrainian) With contributions from Ilia Dyshlevoi, Denis Kovalev, Olesia Kushchevaia, Daria Olifer, Julia Serbina and Dmitrii Shubakov. Astroprint: Odessa.