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EIHS Lecture: The Echo of the Whale: Taking History Below the Surface

Bathsheba R. Demuth (Brown University)
Thursday, January 19, 2023
4:00-6:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Bowhead whales have been known to three groups along the Bering Strait over the past two centuries: Indigenous Yupik and Inupiaq whalers, capitalist commercial whalers, and communist industrial whalers. Each imagined different normative relationships with whales, tied to distinct visions of time, history, and personhood. This talk explores how those ideas shaped interactions between human hunters and bowheads and what we can discern of whales' subsurface responses to their pursuers, in order to examine what counts as a source for historians, and who is able to speak in our narratives.

Bathsheba Demuth is the Dean's Associate Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University, where she specializes in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. Her prize winning first book, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (W.W. Norton) was named a best book of 2019 by Nature, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal among others. Demuth holds a BA and MA from Brown University, and an MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. A Carnegie Fellow, she is currently researching the Yukon River.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: History
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History

The Thursday Series is the core of the institute's scholarly program, hosting distinguished guests who examine methodological, analytical, and theoretical issues in the field of history. 

The Friday Series consists mostly of panel-style workshops highlighting U-M graduate students. On occasion, events may include lectures, seminars, or other programs presented by visiting scholars.

The insitute also hosts other historical programming, including lectures, film screenings, author appearances, and similar events aimed at a broader public audience.