Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Alexander Vorbrugg

Alexander is a geographer with an interest in East European Studies, Political Ecology, Rural Studies, Resource Geographies and Economic Geography. He is a senior researcher in the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern and principal investigator of the SNSF-funded project “Russia’s New Forests: Assembling and Governing a Resource Frontier”. He gained a PhD in Geography from Goethe University Frankfurt and has been a visiting scholar at the New School in New York. Earlier, he studied Geography, Sociology, Slavonic Studies and Political Science in Tübingen, Moscow and Frankfurt/Main.

Alexander acts as an editor of Geographica Helvetica and the book series Kritische Landforschung/Critical Rural Studies (transcript), and as a spokesperson for the geography division of the German Association for East European Studies (DGO). He is a member of the mLAB (University of Bern) and the working group “Agricultural Land Abandonment” (Global Land Programme). His monograph Dispersed Dispossession. Disintegration, Appropriation and Persistence in Rural Russia is forthcoming with The University of Georgia Press (Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series).

During his stay at the IAS, Alexander continued his work on the “Russia’s New Forest” project and focused on three of its sub-themes: the discursive reframing of (farmland) abandonment from a symbol of degradation and crisis into one of growth and ecological, economic and social benefits; the role of visual representations, including satellite-based maps, in the development of the New Forest vision; and the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine on New Forests in particular, and Russian environmental politics more generally.