photo of Bathsheba Demuth

Bathsheba Demuth

Author Bathsheba Demuth will discuss her work as an environmental historian specializing in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic.

Floating Coast book cover image>Bathsheba Demuth is writer and environmental historian specializing in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her interest in northern places and cultures began when she was eighteen and moved to the village of Old Crow in the Yukon, where she trained huskies for several years. From the archive to the dog sled, she is interested in how the histories of people, ideas, and ecologies intersect. In addition to her prize-winning book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, her writing has appeared in publications from The American Historical Review to The New Yorker and The Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is currently the Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University.

Published in 2019, Floating Coast is the first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada. Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through these resources Demuth draws a vivid portrait of the sweeping effects of turning ecological wealth into economic growth and state power over the past century and a half. More urgent in a warming climate, and as we seek new economic ideas for a postindustrial age, Floating Coast delivers necessary warnings and poses provocative questions about human desires and needs in relation to environmental sustainability.

Writer Robert Macfarlane called Floating Coast “A brilliant hybrid … Often reminiscent to me of Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams in its combination of rigorous research, intense looking and listening, and its clear ethical vision.”

Recently, a series of essays Demuth’s essays, “Postcards from the Floating Coast,” appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Essay. Demuth is currently conducting research on the Yukon River watershed.

Upcoming Events