Towards Selfhood: Memory, Subjectivity and the Trans-Siberian Railway Journey
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis is an autoethnography based on a two week Trans-Siberian railway journey from Moscow to Vladivostok in October 2011. It explores the role of memory in our spatial surroundings, the effect remembering has on the way we move through and interpret the present and ourselves. In the chapters about community, rhythms, memory/imagination, and landscape the journey becomes a backbone for the personal narratives and the stories of others, which intertwining unveil the complex relationship between the self and the world, the present and the absent, and the imagined. Thesis explores the inevitable mobility of the mind, which sees us losing the ability to stay fastened to physical spaces, images and our own being, and opening the possibility to travel in time, space and memory. The physical landscape, landscape of Siberia gradually becomes almost invisible, disappears and re-emerges as a series of personal images and stories, feelings and dreams, suggesting that even moving through the vastest landscapes in the world we are always travelling inward, towards an understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
PhD in Geography