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Elisa Maria Lopez

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About me

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist whose broad scholarly interest is the relationship between people and their environment(s). Specifically, I am interested in environmental relations and the production of space and place in industrial cities. I have studied and written about the intersections of Indigenous land use and resource extraction, the links between urban space and settler colonialism, and the symbolic, conceptual, and material production of nature. My research interests include the anthropology of resource extraction, critical Indigenous studies, architecture, urban planning and design, and settler colonialism in the Nordic Arctic.

I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Sweden, Norway, and Japan, the majority of this research in the far north of Sweden. My doctoral dissertation, “Transforming Kiruna: Producing Space, Society, and Legacies of Inequality in the Swedish Ore Fields” (2021) explored how space, nature, and difference are produced and negotiated in the city of Kiruna, a Swedish industrial heartland and Sámi Indigenous homeland currently experiencing mining-based population displacement and urban transformation.

At present, I am a postdoctoral Researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture on the Vetenskapsrådet/Swedish Research Council-funded group project “Utopia 2.0: Nature-Thinking in Nordic New Towns Past, Present, and Future” (2022-2026). My sub-project,  “Greening the Arctic: (Re)Making Cities of the Future in the Indigenous, Industrial North” investigates how two northern industrial communities that are today key sites of Nordic "green transition" projects are being transformed at social, spatial, and temporal scales. Combining research methods and theory from anthropology and critical architectural studies, this project examines urban planning practices, architectural histories, and local residents' experiences of industrially-driven socio-spatial change over time.

During Fall/Winter 2023-24, I was also a Guest Researcher at ArkDes, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, conducting research in the museum collections on company towns and worker housing in 20th century Sweden.


Seminar Course, Advanced Level 4VT (A42SEV), teacher | Course web

Seminar Course, Advanced Level 5VT (A52SEV), teacher | Course web

Profile picture of Elisa Maria Lopez