University of Connecticut

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Geography Colloquium - Alex Diener

Friday, March 4, 2016
12:20pm – 1:15pm

Storrs Campus
AUST 434

Mobility and Eurasia’s Development Frontiers: Mongolia’s Millennium Highway as a Microcosm of New Silk Roads

In the late 1990s, Mongolia began construction of a transportation mega-project called the Millennium Highway. This east-west paved road was designed to integrate national space and link the landlocked state to Northeast Asian, Central Eurasian, and global economic networks. Though progress on the Millennium Highway has been slow, a recent mining boom in Mongolia catalyzed production of alternate roads to support the export of valuable minerals. As the Millennium Highway approaches completion and mining roads increasingly crisscross rural regions en route to the Chinese and Russian borders, an opportunity presents to examine resultant environmental change, economic restructuring, political shifts, and socio-cultural transformation. With only 11.9% of Mongolia's roads paved and no railroad spanning the state along an east/west vector, the yet-to-be-completed, 2,400 kilometer Millennium Highway provides a microcosm of broader mobility projects across Eurasia. In the last five years Russia, China, India, and the US have all rhetorically and materially recast their regional roles, enacting profound effects on borderlands of Eurasia. The pursuit of New Silk Roads enables greater state penetration into "peripheral" lands, increasing resource extraction and, in some cases, human migration. This transformation poses pressing questions: 1. Are Eurasia’s varied mobility projects mutually compatible? 2. How are these material and discursive changes re-orienting frontier regions? 3.Are these projects triggering local resistances? This project combines economic, political, and social geographic research in an effort to understand the potential impacts of a new transportation infrastructure spanning Eurasia.


Nat Trumbull []

Geography Department (primary), Agricultural and Resource Economics, Asian American Cultural Center, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, History Department, UConn Master Calendar

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