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Tanya Richardson | Engaging Resources
New Anthropological Perspectives on Natural Resource Environments

Tanya Richardson

Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Wilfrid Laurier University

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 land, 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.

Selected Publications

“(In)Accessible Land: The Changing Practice and Regulation of Gardening in the Reedbeds of Ukraine’s Danube Delta,” in The Biopolitics of the Danube Delta: Nature, History, Policies. Central European University Press: Budapest.
2008Kaleidoscopic 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“Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa,” Ethnology 44 (1): 13-33.
2005“The Place(s) of Moldovanka in the Making of Odessa,” The Anthropology of East Europe Review. Fall: 72-89.
2004“Disciplining the Past in Post-Soviet Ukraine: Memory and History in Schools and Families,” in 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.