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Anne Gry Sturød, PhD, University of Southeast Norway

Tourism and Changed Relations with Nature in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan

Currently enrolled at the PhD-program in cultural studies at University of South-Eastern Norway. The main question of my PhD-project is how local perceptions and practises related to nature in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan is changing due to tourism development. More specifically I explore, in three separate papers, how perceptions and practices towards snow/coal, the horse and the mountains, is changing. The project draws upon studies of political ecology and ANT/post-humanism approaches and is based on empirical material from several research stays and extensive fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan.



Niki Sopanen, PhD, University of Helsinki

Crouching (Paper) Tiger, Hidden (Paper) Dragon, and the Clash of the Conspiratorial Turn? A Post-foundational Inquiry into Foreign Policy-related Conspiracy Theory Discourses in Sino-U.S. Relations

I am a doctoral student in political science (subprogramme: world politics) at the University of Helsinki. My doctoral dissertation looks into foreign policy-related conspiracy theory discourses in Sino-U.S. relations during the era of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (2017-2021). It suggests a hypothesis that there has been a conspiratorial turn in foreign policy-related discourses in both countries due to the unfolding epoch of the said two authoritarian populist-nationalist great power leaders, who harbour mutually competing global visions (e.g. OBOR and FOIP). Previously, I have already scratched the surface of Sino-U.S. conspiracy theories in my master’s thesis, which analyzed an anti-US best-seller manifesto Zhongguo keyi shuo bu (China Can say no) from the 1990s. The reason why I am interested in conspiracy theories is because they are often categorically framed as "pathologies of post-truth politics" or "dislocatory effects of (post)modern alienation and anxieties", which completely disregards their historicity, particularity and politicality. In my research work, through conceptual and contextual analysis of the conspiracy theory both in the USA and PRC, followed by self-developed heuristic for recognizing conspiratorial discourses along with four case studies, I wish to point out that conspiratorial discourses share both general and particular characteristics, and that they have always played a role within Sino-U.S. relations, international relations, and politics in general.