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Johanne M. Bruun, BSc, MSc, PhD

Johanne M. Bruun, BSc, MSc, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate, ERC Arctic Cultures

Political and historical geographer with a particular interest in geographies of science, material politics, the geo-politics of territory, technologies and practices of fieldwork, and Arctic histories of science.



  • 2018 – present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, ERC Arctic Cultures (PI: Dr Richard C. Powell)


  • 2018: PhD in Historical and Political Geography, Durham University, Department of Geography
  • 2013: MSc in Geopolitics and Security, Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of Geography
  • 2011: BSc in Geography, Aalborg University, Department of Geography and Planning

Awards and scholarships

  • The Geographical Club Award, awarded by the Royal Geographical Society
  • Politics of Emergent Geographical Spaces Doctoral Scholarship, awarded by Durham University


Bringing together historical and political geography, my research to date has focused on the intersection between scientific practice, material politics, and spatialised governance with a particular focus on questions of terrain and territory in Greenland. This work engages debates in geographies of science in the field, Science and Technology Studies, Arctic studies, and geographical theories of territory.

In my current role as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the ERC funded project Arctic Cultures: Sites of Collection in the Formation of the European and American Northlands (PI: Dr Richard C. Powell), I examine developments in ecological theory in relation to Arctic fieldwork. Honing in on a particular moment in the history of ecology, I focus on a succession of Oxford University led expeditions to the Svalbard archipelago from 1921-1924. During these expeditions, British scientist began developing new ways of framing and understanding Arctic natures – and by extension Arctic Cultures. In tracing the emergence as well as the afterlife of these ideas, the project interrogates how ecological knowledge systems were used as a framing device for perpetuating ideas of the Arctic writ large as a space of and for nature – a framing which supported British imperial and national projects in the region.


Peer reviewed papers and book chapters

  • Bruun, J. M. (2019) 'Sustaining Greenland: Early History and Making of Radioactive Resources', in U. P. Gad and J. Strandsbjerg (eds.) Politics of Sustainability in the Arctic: Reconfiguring Identity, Space, and Time, London: Routledge
  • Bruun, J. M. (2018) 'Invading the Whiteness: Science, (sub)terrain, and US Militarisation of the Greenland Ice Sheet', Geopolitics
  • Bruun, J. M. (2018) 'Enacting the Substrata: Scientific Practice and the Political Life of Rare Earth Elements in Cold War Greenland', Extractive Industries and Society [pre-print edition]
  • Bruun, J. M. and Steinberg, P. E. (2018) 'Placing Territory on Ice: Militarisation, Measurement, and Murder in the High Arctic', in K. Peters, P. Steinberg, and E. Stratford (eds.) Territory Beyond Terra: Rethinking Territory Beyond the Limits of Land, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 147-164
  • Bruun, J. M. (2015) 'Colonisation and Calculation: Framing Arctic Geopolitics', Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 15 (2), pp. 27-43
  • Bruun, J. M. and Medby, I. A. (2014) 'Theorising the Thaw: Geopolitics in a Changing Arctic', Geography Compass 8/12, pp. 915-929
  • Steinberg, P. E., Bruun, J. M. and Medby, I. A. (2014) 'Covering Kiruna: A Natural Experiment in Arctic Awareness', Polar Geography 37 (4), pp. 273-297

Book reviews

  • Bruun, J. M. (2018) 'Review: Arcticness: Power and Voice from the North', Antipode
  • Bruun, J. M. (2016) 'Review: The Scramble for the Poles', Geography 101 (3), p. 167
  • Bruun, J. M. (2014) 'Review: Polar Geopolitics? Knowledges, Resources and Legal Regimes', The Polar Journal 4 (2), pp. 407-409


Teaching items

  • Political geography, territory and geopolitics, Arctic studies, introduction to human geography, poststructuralist theory, geographical methods (qualitative), supervision and field support

Teaching qualification

  • 2017: Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
    Durham Learning and Teaching Award