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3 million SEK for Cold War Coasts

December 14, 2017

The FORMAS Research Council recently accounced its decision to fund a research project of an unusual kind: “Cold War Coasts: The Transnational Co-Production of Militarized Landscapes“. Set out to start in 2018, it will build on a collaborative effort with colleagues at KTH and Stockholm University. The project will run until the end of 2021.

The project aims to reconstruct how the coasts of the Baltic Sea have been physically and socially shaped through transnational interaction across the Cold War divide from 1945 to today. Our hypothesis is that magnificent maritime landscapes such as Stockholm’s famous archipelago or Gotland’s desolate beaches cannot be properly understood without taking into account how potential enemy attacks from the opposite shores of the Baltic stimulated a far-reaching militarization of these Swedish coasts. Conversely, we will study the Cold War’s shaping of Estonia’s and Latvia’s coastscapes. The project will in this contribute to a fascinating new strand of research in the intersection between environmental history and military history.

We have tried to get this project funded for several years already, and in the meantime we have, in actual practice, already done quite a lot of research on coastal landscapes. Among other things I have spent much time exploring the more general phenomenon of the seashore as a territory of death and fear, using literary and documentary sources. Ideally this will result in a book that I hope to complete as part of the project.

Read more about the project on Formas’ website.

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