Mag. Sigrid Wentzel


Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor
Room: C0412

T: +43-1-4277-49524


Current Courses: u:find

Past Courses: u:find

Research Focus Areas

  • Anthropology and architecture, infrastructure and the built environment
  • Materiality and material culture
  • Ethnicity and nationality
  • Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and Eastern Siberia
  • Post-Soviet spaces, conditions and identities
  • Soviet Union

Short Biography

Sigrid Wentzel is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. For her master thesis, she has carried out field work in Krasnodar, a North Caucasian city, and explored place-making practices of young street artists in the urban space. She studied Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna and spent two semesters at the Kuban State University in Krasnodar, Russian Federation, where she also studied Russian language. She is a collaborator in the research project “Configurations of remoteness (CoRe) - Entanglements of Humans and Transportation Infrastructure in the Baykal-Amur Mainline (BAM) Region” and has carried out fieldwork in the Sakha republic (Yakutia) on human-infrastructure relations in the context of a newly constructed railroad line. Sigrid Wentzel is also a lecturer at the department and enjoys teaching and working together with students. Her dissertation contributes to research of the relationship of national identities and built environments in post-Soviet contexts. She carries out fieldwork in the Sakha republic (Yakutia) and analyzes processes of the complex interrelationship of architectural design making and the search, negotiation and expression of Sakha identities through architecture.

For further information on her research see:

Selected Publications

  • 2017 (with Schweitzer, Peter; Povoroznyuk, Olga). Beyond wilderness: towards an anthropology of infrastructure and the built environment in the Russian North. In: _The Polar Journal _Vol.7(1), p. 58-85.
  • 2016 Zeitgenössische Sakha-Architektur im Kontext eines kulturellen „Revivals“ Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien. (Contemporary Sakha architecture in the context of a cultural revival). In: _Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien (MAGW) Vol_. 146, p. 145-158.
  • 2015 Индивидуализация городского пространства: Стрит-арт как запретное искусство и средство выражения табуированных тем в одном северокавказском городе. (Appropriation of urban space: street art and taboo in a Northern Caucasian City). In: _The Analyticon Vol. _11(83). />45&lang=ru#more-7145

Research Project


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


The project component “Waiting for the train” is part of a large research project called CoRe “Configurations of Remoteness” funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). This component focuses on a newly constructed railroad line in the Sakha republic (Yakutia). It explores human engagement with a rapidly changing material and social environment and the consequences of a large-scale infrastructural development in the village Nizhniy Bestyakh and its environs, where the railroad currently ends. Currently, the railroad connection is open only for freight trains and passengers are still waiting to board the first train. While the railroad project arouses enthusiasm and hope, it also evokes fears and uncertainties amongst the people living and working there. Historically, the region´s economy was based on agriculture and forestry. However, the railroad development brings about rapid urban development, increasing traffic and new professional perspectives and therewith significantly reshapes the region.

Recent Presentations

  • „How does dimension matter? Eine Geschichte von sehr großen und sehr kleinen Häusern“, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie Tagung 2019, University of Konstanz. 29. September - 2. October 2019

  • Konstruiruya zdaniya – konstruiruya identichnosti: etnografiya oformleniya sovremennoy arkhitektury Sakha" (constructing buildings-constructing identities: Ethnography of designing contemporary Sakha architecture), at the institute of global and Russian history, ethnology and architecture at the North Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk, Russian Federation. 19 April 2019

  • “The entrance to the republic: How a train station became an example for contemporary Sakha architecture”, at the 4th Vienna Ethnography Laboratory: "Infrastructures: Imagination, Materiality, Process", University of Vienna. 26-28 September 2018

  • “Waiting for the Train: How a Siberian Village Prepares for Infrastructural Futures", at the 15th EASA Biennal Conference of the European Association of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Stockholm. 14-17 August 2018