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Iron Silk Road(s)

Anastasiadou, I (E), phD

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Belt & Road, Silk Road,  Europe - Asia Relations, globalization, global history, transnationalism, history  & theory of Infrastructure, ´development´, sustainability. United Nations, NGOs, global governance, international relations, modern Asian studies  ...

´T End of the Cold War signalled the political reorganisation of the region of South Caucasus and was also accompanied by extensive plans for the reconfiguration of the infrastructure in the region. In the 1990s, the EU financed a corridor study for the configuration of a new Europe – Caucasus – Asia railway route. The main drivers of the EU are economic and political: the new railway could move Western industrial products to the East and petroleum products to the West, also consolidating the EU´s political influence in the region. Meanwhile, Chinese policymakers and the Chinese government drafted their own plans for the configuration of transnational railway corridors that would connect China to Europe through Central Asia. The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific endorsed these plans in the 1990s and has been promoting them ever since. We can see then that politically strong national and transnational actors see infrastructure planning and specifically the formation of transnational railway corridors as a powerful instrument of political expansion and economic growth. In my currernt   research I discuss projects for the reconfiguration of Asian railways from the 1940s to the Present, focusing on visions for establishing Europe Asia freight routes. By examining such projects I seek to explore how Europe Asian relations have been formed in the ´low politics´ arena of infrastructural development, since the end of WWII. Ultimately, an interpretation of the competing political and economic agendas ´hidden´ in these projects, as well as an analysis of the factors that lead to their realisation (or non-realisation) – be they economic, political or technological – can prove a useful instrument to policy makers.´

Abstract from, Research Proposal, entitled, 

Iron Silk Roads, Railways and Europe Asia Relations, drafted independently, submitted and successfully defended by Eirini (Irene) Anastasiadou, (PhD)

at Berlin University of Technology in March 2014

Principal Investigator, IPODI Marie Curie Action, Funded by the European Commission, Individual Career Development Fellowship.

Parallel funding was not allowed in any other European country for the duration of this fellowship

Concerning European versions of the Silk Road in a historical perspective see In Search of a Railway Europe

Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven University of Technology, 2009)

Thesis Defence date: January 9th, Eindhoven University of Technology,

The Netherlands.

By: Anastasiadou Eirini (Irene)

Previous funding received:

IKY, Hellenic Foundation for Scientific Research, Greece (Post Graduate Studies, National

and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece). Excellence Grant for Professional Career Developmen

tnt awarded by the Greek State. ​

Fellowhisp at Shanghai University, People' s Republic of China

International Scholar of the Society of the History of Technology, USA.

Travel Grant Subsidy: Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Germany, Project: Iron Silk Roads 

PhD: funds as part of the NWO Project Transnational Infrastructure and the Rise of Conteprary Europe, 

Princinpal Investigator: Building Europe on Rails

Courses Designed and Taught


2022 & 2023, Iron Silk Roads, Transport & Communications in Contemporary European History, Elcctive, European Studies Program, University of Amsterdam. 

Spring Semester 2015 - 2016, hosted by China Centre, TUBerlin,

Modern Asian History through the lenses of the history of transport, traffic and mobility,
Spring Semester 2016 - 2017, Hosted by China Centre, TUBerlin,
Transport and Mobility in Modern Asia, supplementary to the  course info accessible on line in the following  link:

Places I have lived and worked so far: Athens (Greece), Eindhoven, Delft, Berlin (Germany), Shanghai (Peoples' Republic of China), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) ,,, 


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Iron SIlk Roads (03/2014), focuses on an analysis of a number of initiatives to establish overland and maritime  transport corridors in Eurasia since WWII. Such initiatives are also known as the New Silk Roads. 

The research focuses on the sociopolitical context of such initiatives in the years of the Global Cold War, and the years, called in literature as the years of globalisation, or the years of the post Cold War.


Till now, the research has been designed and pursued independently  within the context of a number of institutes, that functioned as host institutes, and it is ongoing ...

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