Environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth’s new book is called Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait. If you haven’t studied a globe lately, the Bering Strait is that narrow stretch of frigid water separating Alaska from Russia; it connects the Arctic to the Bering Sea (and on to the Pacific). Demuth fell in love with the region after a stint working with sled dogs in the Yukon, and she has since traveled extensively through Arctic lands on both sides of the Strait. It’s a cultural crossroads, occupied for centuries by indigenous peoples on both sides. Despite its remote location, it’s also been of interest to western superpowers, from the 19th century whaling boom through a 20th century gold rush and even now, as the region faces an environmentally precarious future. Nature calls the book “astonishingly rich in ethnographic detail, ecological precision, economic circumstance and historical texture.”
After the reading, Demuth will be joined for a conversation with writer Kerri Arsenault, followed by a Q&A and book signing.