Bathsheba Demuth, Assistant Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University (USA), discussed her book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (WW Norton, 2019) in our Greenhouse online book talk series on Monday, 27 April, at 16:00 CET.
Floating Coast offers a groundbreaking exploration of the relationships between capitalism, communism, and Arctic ecology. Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.
Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.
Floating Coasts has won numerous accolades including being awarded the George Perkins Marsh prize for best book in environmental history from the American Society of Environmental History in 2020.