Following the lead of a growing number of political scientists, geographers, historians, economists, biologists, literary scholars, archaeologists and others, the 2015–2016 cohort focused its inquiry around three broad ideas:
First, the institutions, infrastructures, and technologies that shape the passage of human beings, objects, animals, diseases, and ideas across space. These include everything from passport policies and land surveys to highways, marketing campaigns, pilgrimage routes, GPS systems, pasturing practices, and NGOs.
Second, the ways in which inhabitants of rural and urban spaces of Eurasia have documented, studied, and imagined the experience of mobility. What are the effects of immigration on the built environment? How is social mobility inscribed in the urban landscape or represented in film, literature, and art? What are the various ways in which government officials and bureaucratic regimes control the flow of goods, services, information, and people? And can the tools and methods of digital scholarship shed as much light on archival material as they can on Twitter feeds?
Third, mobility as a multi-scalar phenomenon: one whose significance is rooted in the relationship between individual and communal, private and public, local and universal, but also in the relationship between the human and “natural” worlds. How do attempts to maintain connections with family members or to recreate cultural and social practices impact immigrant communities? Is it possible to map both the emotional and the economic costs of major disasters and the spatial challenges they create?
Can thinking about migration and mobility help us better understand the individual states that occupy the Eurasian landmass as well as the connections among them, their neighbors, and the global community? To this end, participants explored new methodologies, posed new questions, and developed new modes of presenting research to the academic world and beyond.