Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at]

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]
firstname.lastname [at]

Location & Connections


Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Gertjan Plets, Stanford University, USA

“Post-Soviet Heritages in the Making: Archaeology, culture and statecraft in Russia’s resource colonies”
(24 October 2015-mid-January 2016)

Gertjan Plets is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of anthropology of Stanford University (Stanford Archaeology Center). He holds a PhD in archaeology from Ghent University (Belgium). Gertjan’s interests lay in heritage ethics, cultural landscapes, memory politics, and resource development. His current postdoc at Stanford focuses on the heritage and identity politics of newly developing economies and the evolution of archaeological practice and ethics in those countries. Drawing on continuing anthropological fieldwork in Siberia (Altai Republic) and completed research in Xinjiang (northwest China) he specifically spotlights the use of the past in the cultural present in the (former) Soviet/socialist world. Issues as difficult heritage, world heritage activism, cultural diplomacy, indigenous rights, post-Soviet theory and representational practices are some of the cornerstones of his research.

Short description of ongoing research:
At the Aleksanteri Institute Dr. Plets will finish his monograph ‘Post-Soviet Heritages in the Making: Archaeology and statecraft in Russia’s resource colonies’, contracted by Routledge. The outcome of 7 years of concerted ethnographic fieldwork, the book investigates the evolution of heritage practice, management and research in the multicultural Altai Republic (South-central Siberia). Through investigating the social life of archaeological objects and interconnected embodiment practices, he will investigate issues of multiculturalism, governmentality, indigenous rights and citizenship in post-Soviet Russia. Besides spotlighting how deeply rooted socialist dispositions and subjectivities still structure the webs of significance different actors across social space spin, the book also looks into the extensive impact of resource development on the social fabric and cultural practices in so-called resource frontiers (peripheral regions geographically far from the center, but politically close because of their geopolitical relevance).

Email: gplets [at]

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Kaarina Aitamurto and Jussi Lassila