Maria Gunko

Maria is a DPhil Candidate in Migration Studies at the University of Oxford. She holds a Hill Foundation Scholarship and her doctoral research and fieldwork will be part of this ERC-funded EMPTINESS project.

Maria obtained an MSc in Human Geography from the Moscow Lomonosov State University in 2012 and a Russian postgraduate degree, Candidate of Sciences in Human Geography, from the Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences in 2015. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig (Germany) in 2015, working on the ira.urban project Urban Reconfigurations in Post-Soviet Space funded by the Leibniz Association. Furthermore, her Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Geography Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France) in 2019 was supported by the “Bourses Metchnikov” Embassy of France in Moscow’s short-term academic mobility grant.

Maria’s research interests lie in the intersection of urban studies and social anthropology, more specifically state-space relations, infrastructuring, urban decay, and ruination with a geographical focus on Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus. Her previous work was devoted to the analysis of governance, planning, and place-making in Russian small- and medium-sized shrinking cities. The results of these studies were published in several journal articles and lay the foundation for an edited volume Postsocialist Shrinking Cities (eds. Wu, C-T, Gunko, M, Stryjakiewicz, T, and Zhou, K) published by Routledge in 2022.

Within the EMPTINESS project, Maria will be exploring power and statecraft in a small Armenian town. This will be done by focusing on urban infrastructures – their management and neglect after the collapse of developmental socialist state.

Collaborate with us

If you would like to find out more about the project or contribute a blog on a resonant aspect of your own research to the Field Reports section of our website, please get in touch by writing to emptiness@anthro.ox.ac.uk.