About this Event
Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Straight
Wed, Oct 27, 2021 7:30 PM CDT
This is an online event, please register HERE.
Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth, an environmental historian who teaches at Brown University, reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.
Floating Coast, the first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans - the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia - before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: how, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?
Demuth draws on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources to show how the social, political, and environmental clashed in this liminal space. Bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history. Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.