What I Am Thinking About Now: Bathsheba Demuth, "Species of Transition: People, Dogs, and the Making of Hybrid Spaces in Gold Rush Alaska"

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), Lippitt House

Please join us on Tuesday, April 4, 12-1pm for a "What I Am Thinking About Now" presentation from Bathsheba Demuth, Assistant Professor of History at Brown University. Her talk is titled, "Species of Transition: People, Dogs, and the Making of Hybrid Spaces in Gold Rush Alaska."

RSVP to [email protected]. Snacks and caffeine will be provided.

This talk draws on her current, and very preliminary, thinking about how contact and colonialism transformed the relationship between dogs and people in Northwestern Alaska from 1898 through the early years of the twentieth century. Prior to contact, the Inupiat and Yupik peoples had centuries of experience using dogs as hunting and pack animals; they were critical to navigating arctic space and made possible a rich network of human social and economic connections. When miners arrived during the Nome gold rush, they imported new canine breeds and new ideas about how to use and navigate tundra space. In trying to breed dogs suited to this colonial tundra, canines became a point of sustained contact between indigenous peoples and newcomers. Together, dogs and people created a new sense of space and inter-species relationships. In recovering the often overlooked indigenous roots of dog-sledding practice, Professor Demuth is also interested in exploring how dogs were an active, agented, living site of joined cultural and genetic creation, one that shaped how people understood Alaskan space.

"What I Am Thinking About Now" is an on-going informal workshop/seminar series to which faculty and graduate students are invited to present and discuss recently published work and work in progress. All are invited to attend and participate.