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Author of Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia wins EASA Early Career Award 2018

21 August 2018

We are delighted that the author of Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia: An Anthropology of Forgetting, Repair and Urban Traces, Francisco Martinez, has been selected for the EASA Early Career Award 2018. The Award was announced and conferred during the European Association of Social Anthropologists' (EASA) biennial conference at the University of Stockholm, on Thursday, 16th August 2018.

Published in July 2018, Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia: An Anthropology of Forgetting, Repair and Urban Traces examines just what happens to legacies that do not find any continuation.

In Estonia, a new generation that does not remember the socialist era and is open to global influences has grown up. As a result, the impact of the Soviet memory in people’s conventional values is losing its effective power, opening new opportunities for repair and revaluation of the past.

Francisco Martinez brings together a number of sites of interest to explore the vanquishing of the Soviet legacy in Estonia: the railway bazaar in Tallinn where concepts such as ‘market’ and ‘employment’ take on distinctly different meanings from their Western use; Linnahall, a grandiose venue, whose Soviet heritage now poses diffi cult questions of how to present the building’s history; Tallinn’s cityscape, where the social, spatial and temporal co-evolution of the city can be viewed and debated; Narva, a city that marks the border between the Russian Federation, NATO and the European Union, and represents a place of continual negotiation of belonging; and the new Estonian National Museum in Raadi, an area on the outskirts of Tartu, that has been turned into a memory field.

The anthropological study of all these places shows that national identity and historical representations can be constructed in relation to waste and disrepair too, also demonstrating how we can understand generational change in a material sense.