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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Ms Johanne Bruun

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41866
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 301

Contact Ms Johanne Bruun (email at

Current Research

PhD: Grounding Territory: Geoscience and the Production of Territory in Greenland During the Early Cold War Period

With a history of science focus, my doctoral research interrogates the intersectionality between scientific practices and epistemologies, material politics, and spatialised governance with a particular emphasis on questions of territory. I explore the role of practices of economic geology in materially augmenting Danish territorial sovereignty in Greenland during the 1950s. By interrogating how scientific field practices imbued the geological world with political resonance, I unpack the role of such practice in producing popular and political ideas about the past, present, and future of the Danish national territory. Put differently, I explore how science was used to cement and communicate the state’s relationship with the natural world. I simultaneously explore how this Danish narrative was challenged and countered by the material practices of another occupying state, the USA, which used science to construct an image of Greenlandic landscapes as a military terrain. Inspired by the ‘material turn’ of academic geography, this research is anchored in literatures on the geographies of science and exploration, new materialism, and science and technology studies.


Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters

  • 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
  • Bruun, J. M. (2015) ‘Colonisation and Calculation: Framing Arctic Geopolitics’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 15 (2), pp. 27-43
  • 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
  • Bruun, J. M. and Medby, I. A. (2014) ‘Theorising the Thaw: Geopolitics in a Changing Arctic’, Geography Compass 8/12, pp. 915-929

Book Reviews

  • Bruun, J. M. (2014) ‘­Review: Polar Geopolitics? Knowledges, Resources and Legal Regimes’, The Polar Journal 4 (2), pp. 407-409
  • Bruun, J. M. (2016) ‘Review: The Scramble for the Poles’, Geography 101 (3), p. 167


Tutoring and demonstrating

  • The Arctic (combined human/physical), Level 3
  • Human Geography: Space and Place in a Changing World, Level 1
  • Political Geography, Level 2
  • Politics/Space: Drawing Lines, Writing the World, Level 3
  • Territory and Geopolitics, Level 3

Selected Grants

  • 2017: Postgraduate Conference Fund, Durham University Department of Geography, £500
  • 2016: CAROD Interdisciplinary Conference Grant, workshop funding awarded by Durham University, £500
  • 2016: UArctic workshop grant, awarded by Durham University and the UArctic network, £500
  • 2015: Royal Geographical Society’s Geographical Club Award, fieldwork grant, £1,000
  • 2014: UArctic Mobility Grant, fieldwork grant awarded by Durham University and the UArctic network, £2,000
  • 2014: UK government funding to attend the 2014 Arctic Circle Assembly as member of the British Delegation, £350
  • 2013: Politics of Emergent Geographical Spaces doctoral scholarship