USM Art Department

Pattern + Currents: Looking to Beringian Ecologies, Online, Monday, November 30th at Noon

Patern & Currents

The Maine North Atlantic Institute (MNAI) at the University of Southern Maine is excited to announce Pattern + Currents: Looking to Beringian Ecologies.  This is a continuation of a webinar series created in conjunction with the USM Art Department, called MNAI Convenes, that explores topics related to Maine’s relationship to the North Atlantic and Arctic.

JOIN US for two presentations that examine Beringia and Alaska as a contextual framework to explore the dynamic relationships between humans, cetaceans, oceans, and landscapes within the slippery milieu of icy geographies.

Bathsheba Demuth, Assistant Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University and author of Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait, will discuss how along the Bering Strait, on the edges of what is now Northwestern Alaska and Northeastern Russia, Inupiaq and Yupik have hunted bowhead whales on the sea ice for millennia. In the 1840s, Indigenous hunts were joined by commercial whalers from New England, killing to fill whale oil lamps. Demuth asks: How did whales respond to the pressures of market hunting? What might we learn about the histories of fisheries from taking seriously the actions of bowheads and the knowledge of peoples who have known them the longest? 

Jen Rose Smith, Assistant Professor of Geography and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will trace out how scientific and cultural imaginaries of ice landscapes have shaped and informed processes of racialization in the Arctic and specifically in Alaska around the time of its purchase from Russia in 1867. Further, she will examine how historical processes of racialization have enacted dispossession of land and territory for Indigenous peoples in the Arctic, and how it continues in ongoing forms.



Monday, Nov 30, 2020 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register to Receive your Zoom Link for Pattern + Current here.