Environmental Subjectivities from the Soviet North
- Date: –17:00
- Location: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor, IRES Library
- Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
- Contact person: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
- Phone: 018 471 1630
with Dr. Andy Bruno (Northern Illinois University)
In this talk Andy Bruno will elaborate the concept of “Soviet environmental subjectivity.” Taking a theoretical step toward comparative political ecology and neo-materialism, he makes the case that engagement with the natural environment comprised a potent, but underappreciated, determinant of Soviet subjectivity. To suggestively substantiate this claim, Dr. Bruno will examine the life stories of three individuals who spent time in a common region in the far north: ornithologist Oleg Semenov-Tian-Shanskii, geologist Leonid Potemkin, and aspiring ballerina turned technician and prisoner Inna Tartakovskaia. Their lives reveal certain distinguishing features of Soviet environmental subjectivities, including a common desire to both exploit and protect the environment and a tendency for the state’s punitive use of harsh natural conditions to alter subjective experiences. Furthermore, the very different paths of these individuals - one became an environmentalist, one defended the Soviet treatment of the natural world, and one did not actively engage in environmental politics - indicate the possible pervasiveness of environmental subjectivities in the Soviet Union.
Andy Bruno is Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). His articles have appeared in Slavic Review, Environmental History, Isis, Kritika, REGION, WIREs Climate Change, and other outlets. Currently, he is writing his second book, Tunguska: Siberia’s Mysterious Explosion and its Environmental Legacy.