Bridgework: Russia's Metaphorical, Emotive, and Material Pivot to Asia

Authors: Jeremy Tasch*, Towson University
Topics: Eurasia, Political Geography, Russia
Keywords: Infrastructure, Russia, Asia, Metaphor
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Bridges and—to invoke Simmel (1909; 1994)—gateways are inscribed on the landscape in ways that reflect appeals to connect yet maintaining the possibility for separation. Bridges facilitate connections and their structures cement socioeconomic forces onto the landscape. Through this will to connect, bridges are symbolic, emotive, and material extensions of our desire to shape and control space. The ways by which these infrastructures are approached by diverse stakeholders demonstrate their capacities both to extend beyond and to link local and international boundaries, while their construction simultaneously shapes already existing and produces multiple economic and political spaces. Consequently, this paper explores the “Bridges of Vladivostok” as material and conceptual intersections linking the local to the global, spatial power to the economy, and the monumental with the everyday: Bridges as metaphor—intangible but very real symbols for potentially stronger relations and enablers of hoped-for partnerships, and bridges as concrete constructions, designed to link opposite sides and to make the space between them smaller.

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