Tobias Holzlehner

Researcher and Lecturer at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

received his doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His ethnographic research in the Russian Far East explores post-industrial landscapes, technological devolution, naturalcultural encounters and socio-economic transformations along the North Pacific littoral.  

In the course of the last years he conducted several research projects (Far Eastern Borderlands: Informal Networks and Space at the Margins of the Russian State, NSF Arctic Social Science; Histories and Futures of Relocations in Alaska and Rural Chukotka, NSF/ESF; Cosmopolitan Xenophobia: Cultural Dynamics of Consumption and Ethnic Interaction in Vladivostok, Russia, Wenner-Gren Foundation) that tried to grasp shifting social configurations and various forms of mobility in a time of rapid cultural change. He examines in different ways overlapping and constantly moving sets of cultural formations, people and commodities alike, which seem to characterize a growing global and transnational culture. By tracing the connections between maritime communities and global forces, his research contributes to basic questions which anthropology is facing on our increasingly “moving earth.”


You can find Tobias and his work here:


Selected publications 

(2018). Economies of Trust: Informal economies and the state in the Russian-Chinese borderland. In C. Humphrey, Trust and Mistrust in the Economies of Chinese-Russian Borderlands, pp. 65-86. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 

(2015). Shadow Networks: Border Economies, Informal Markets and Organized Crime in the Russian Far East. Berlin: LIT.

(2015). The Curse of Social Engineering: Settlement Structures, Urbanization and Native Economies in Chukotka. Russian Analytical Digest 172, pp. 7-10. 

(2014). Trading Against the State: Il/legal Cross-Border Networks in the Russian Far East. Etnofoor 26, 1, pp. 13-38.

(2011). “Engineering Socialism: A history of village relocations in Chukotka, Russia,” in S.D. Brunn (ed.) Engineering Earth: The Impacts of Megaengineering Projects, pp. 1957-73. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer Science+Business Media.