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Transboundary Natures: The Consequences of the Iron Curtain for Landscape
Lecture | March 13 | 5-6:30 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall
Astrid M. Eckert, Emory University
This talk investigates the ecological footprint of the Iron Curtain and the consequences of the border regime for landscape and wildlife. It moves beyond the quotidian claim that the Iron Curtain divided ecosystems and landscapes by arguing that the fortifications and all activities that kept them functional became causal in direct or in mitigated fashion to changes in the natural environment adjacent to the border. Of central focus is not the fact that a border runs through a landscape but the consequences for the landscape. The talks vanishing point is the Green Belt conservation project that materialized on the heels of the GDRs (East Germanys) collapse which this talk seeks to historicize. It makes clear that the Iron Curtain was first and foremost a military installation with a political function that was placed into Central European landscapes that had themselves been shaped by human interference for centuries. The borders effect was neither purely detrimental nor exclusively beneficial for nature and wildlife, hence neither a declensionist nor a creationist narrative captures the dynamic influence of the border regime.
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