Northwestern Events Calendar


Bathsheba Demuth - The Reindeer and the End of the World: Apocalypse, Climate and Soviet Dreams

When: Monday, October 18, 2021
3:30 PM - 6:00 PM Central

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Janet Hundrieser   847.491.3525

Group: Science in Human Culture Program - Klopsteg Lecture Series

Category: Lectures & Meetings



Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University


The Reindeer and the End of the World: Apocalypse, Climate and Soviet Dreams 


Climate change and other alterations to the Earth caused by human activity are often described in apocalyptic terms: as Armageddon, or the end of the world. Nowhere is this more true than in the Arctic, where the rates of warming are twice that of temperate regions and have been visible for decades. This talk turns to the history of the Chukchi Peninsula, in far eastern Siberia, a place that has experienced radical changes in the past: first with the founding of the Soviet Union and then with its dissolution. Weaving a story of devoted Bolshviks, Chukchi nomads, and herds of reindeer, it explores what kinds of narratives suit the empirical experience of radical change, what is lost when we emphasize rupture, and what is gained by paying attention to the ruins left by past ways of living as we face a transformed Arctic - and planet. 


Professor Demuth is an environmental historian, specializing in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern environments and cultures began when she was 18 and moved north of the Arctic Circle in the Yukon. For over two years, she mushed huskies, hunted caribou, fished for salmon, tracked bears, and otherwise learned to survive in the taiga and tundra. In the years since, she has lived in and studied Arctic communities across Eurasia and North America. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in the how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect.  



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