Virtual WiP: “Infrastructures of Care and the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Tskaltu

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 14th talk of the Spring-Summer 2022 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!

****This WiP presentation will be offered in ONLINE format – THERE WILL BE NO IN-PERSON COMPONENT THIS WEEK! ****

For registration please use the following link:

“Infrastructures of Care and the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Tskaltubo”

Dr. Ariel Otruba, Moravian University in Bethlehem

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 18:30 Tbilisi time

Spatial justice is driving concern for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Georgia. Those inhabiting collective centers often faces qualid, dangerous, and humiliating infrastructural conditions. For nearly three decades, thousands of IDPs from Abkhazia have inhabited the derelict neoclassical, Soviet modern and brutalist sanatoria of the resort city of Tskaltubo. However, leading up to the 2021 elections, the Internally Displaced Persons, Ecomigrants and Livelihood Agency distributed hundreds of keys to newly built high-rise apartments to Tskaltubo IDP families. While many welcome the new apartment contracts, especially after a long and arduous wait, some express concerns about the design, size, location, and infrastructural conditions of the new buildings. This presentation will bring a feminist attention to the political life of infrastructure in two ways: first, it will discuss the emotional impacts and attritional violence of protracted displacement under abject infrastructural conditions using findings from a photo voice (photo-elicitation) project with ten IDPs in 2021. Second, it asks what infrastructural challenges Tskaltubo IDPs now face in their transition to new housing. By bringing critical attention to the intimacies of infrastructure and resettlement, the goal of this research project is to reimagine more caring infrastructures and just futures for displaced populations in Georgia and beyond.

Ariel Otruba, Ph.D. is a feminist political geographer, conflict resolution practitioner, and anti-trafficking advocate. She is a recipient of an ARISC Research Fellowship, and the 2022 InFocus: War and Peace Scholar-in-Residence at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA, USA. Funding for the ARISC Research Fellowship is provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Dr. Otruba has a Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers University, an M.A. International Peace and Conflict Resolution from Arcadia University, and a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Juniata College. Her research focuses on feminist approaches to critical geopolitics, border and migration studies, and political ecology in the South Caucasus. Her most recent publication, “No (Wo)man’s Land: Risking Detention Along the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line” appears in Alexander C. Diener and Joshua Hagen’s (2022) edited volume, Invisible Borders in Very Bordered World: Geographies of Power, Mobility, and Belonging.

Although this presentation currently take place in virtual format, in observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule to which the series generally adheres, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.

WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that normally takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.