Cand. Sc. (kand. nauk) Olga Povoroznyuk

Post Doc

Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor
Room: B0418

T: +43-1-4277-49580

Office Hours


Current Courses: u:find

Past Courses: u:find

Research Focus Areas

  • Ethnicity, culture and identity
  • Modernization and indigenous peoples
  • Postsocialism
  • Anthropology of infrastructure and  built environment
  • Russian/Soviet North and the Arctic

Short Biography

Olga Povoroznyuk is a PostDoc Researcher at the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna and a Senior Researcher at the Department of Northern and Siberian Studies, Institute for Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. She conducted long-term field research in indigenous and mixed communities in East Siberia, Nenets District, and the Russian Far East and defended her degree of kandidat nauk (Ph.D. equivalent) in Ethnology at the Institute for Ethnology and Anthropology. Povoroznyuk is an author of a book on socio-economic and cultural transformations among indigenous Evenk communities in soviet and post-soviet periods and a number of articles on land use, cultural landscapes, gender relations, mobility and migrations, ethnicity and identity politics in the Russian North. Since 2015 she works on a FWF-funded research project on entanglements of human communities with transportation infrastructures lead by Prof. P. Schweitzer. In this project, she focuses on demographic and social change, interethnic and stakeholder relations and identity building in the region of the Baikal-Amur Mainline, East Siberia.  

Olga Povoroznyuk is a member of Austrian Polar Research Institute, Association of American Anthropologists, Association of Anthropologists and Ethnologists of Russia and other professional organizations and research networks. She regularly participates in international conferences and peer-review activities for social science journals published in English and in Russian. She also facilitates cooperation between the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology and academic partners in Russia and currently teaches (in cooperation with Prof. Schweitzer) MA courses on cultures of Siberia.

Selected Publications

  • 2017  [with Peter Schweitzer and Sigrid Schiesser]. Beyond Wilderness: Towards an Anthropology of Infrastructure and the Built Environment in the Russian North. In Polar Anthropology, Vol. 7, No 1, pp. 58-85,
  • 2016  Social Dynamics and Sustainability of BAM Communities: Migration, Competition for Resources, and Intergroup Relations. In Marlene Laruelle (ed.), New Mobilities and Social Changes in Russia’s Arctic Regions. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 133-157.
  • 2016  “Gorodskie aborigeny” BAMa: industrial’nyi bum, technosotsial’nye seti i bor’ba za resursy [“Urban aboriginals” of the BAM Region: industrial boom, technosocial networks and competition for resources]. In Etnograficheskoe Obozrenie, No1, pp. 23-41.
  • 2015  [with Sirina A.A., V.N. Davydov V.N. and V.V. Simonova]. S.M. Shirokogoroff’s book ‘Sociаl Organization of the Northern Tungus’ and its Russian translation: history, structure, interpretations. Asian Ethnicity, vol. 17, issue 1, pp. 30 – 46, 
  • 2014 Belonging to Land in Tura: Migrations, Reforms, and Identity Politics in Evenkiia. In Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, vol. 8, No 2, pp. 33-51, 
  • 2010 [with Habeck, J.O и V. Vaté]. Introduction: On the Definition, Theory, and Practice of Gender Shift in the North of Russia. In Anthropology of East Europe Review 2010 29(2). Theme issue (guest editors: Habeck, J.O, O. Povoroznyuk, and V. Vaté), “Gender Shift in the North of Russia”, pp. 1-37, 

Current Project

Configurations of “remoteness (CoRe) - Entanglements of Humans and Transportation Infrastructure in the Baykal-Amur Mainline (BAM) Region (2015-2020)

Funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [P 27625 Einzelprojekte]


The project component "Living along the BAM" lead by Olga Povoroznyuk focuses on the construction history and the present day role of the Baykal-Amur Mainline (BAM) for community development. Looking at the railroad as an agent of social change, the component analyses migration processes, identity construction and memories of the socialist past among the BAM builders, explores the effects of the railroad on indigenous lifestyles, and studies patterns of mobility and sociality among groups of “locals" and “newcomers" in the central parts of the BAM Region in the context of the growing resource extraction and use of the railroad for their transportation.

Recent Conferences

  • [with P. Schweitzer]. The Baikal-Amur Mainline: Constructing a Railroad and Identities as a Socialist Megaproject. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 30, 2017, Washington DC 
  • Overcoming remoteness? Technosocial networks, mobility and modernization along the Baykal-Amur Mainline. Austrian Polar Research Institute Annual Meeting. Nov 9-10, 2017, Innsbruck
  • Baikal-Amur Mainline: Remembering Socialist Construction. German Anthropological Association conference, Berlin, October 6, 2017
  • Antropologiya Infrastruktury BAMa: o Metodakh Polevykh Issledovaniy na Rossiyskom Severe [Anthropology of Infrastructure: on the Methods of Field Research in the Russian North]. Congress of Anthropologists and Ethnologists of Russia XII, Izhevsk, Russia, July 4, 2017
  • [with P. Schweitzer]. History of Railroad transportation, settlement and migrations in the BAM Region. International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences IX, Umea, Sweden, June 9, 2017
  • [with Ch. Fink, G. Saxinger, S. Schiesser and P. Schweitzer]. The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) and Mobility: Experiences and Expectations. 3d CoRe Workshop, May 26, 2017
  • [with P. Schweitzer]. The Social Life of Transportation Infrastructures in the Circumpolar North and Other Remote Areas. International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences IX, Umea, Sweden, June 9, 2017