Cover image for Tundra Passages: History and Gender in the Russian Far East By Petra Rethmann

Tundra Passages

History and Gender in the Russian Far East

Petra Rethmann

BUY

$41.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-02058-7

248 pages
6" × 9"
11 b&w illustrations/2 maps
2000

Post-Communist Cultural Studies

Tundra Passages

History and Gender in the Russian Far East

Petra Rethmann

“Petra Rethmann’s evocative Tundra Passages breaks completely new ground in ethnography from the Russian Far East. Drawing on conversations and experiences shared with Koriak women living on northeastern Kamchatka peninsula, she conveys the human dignity and creative energy that persist in the midst of social suffering following the breakdown of the Soviet empire. Rethmann demonstrates how historical conditions and regional inequalities affect the lives of women who struggle to make a better world for themselves and their families. This is ethnography at its very best.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Subjects
Koriak have been described as a nomadic people, migrating with the reindeer through rugged terrain. Their autonomy and mobility are salient cultural features that ethnographers and state administrators have found equally fascinating and menacing.

Tundra Passages describes how this indigenous people in the Russian Far East have experienced, interpreted, and struggled with the changing conditions of life on the periphery of post-Soviet Russia.

Rethmann portrays the lives of Koriak women in the locales of Tymlat and Ossora in northern Kamchatka, within a wider framework of sexuality, state power, and marginalization, which she sees as central to the Koriak experience of everyday life. Using gender as a lens through which to examine wider issues of history, disempowerment, and marginalization, she explores the interpretations and strategies employed by Koriak women and men to ameliorate the austere effects of political and socioeconomic disorder. Rethmann’s innovative work combines historical and ethnographic descriptions of Koriak life, narration, and practices of gender and history.

With the demise of the Soviet Union, scholars have begun an active discussion of the political processes that affect marginalized and indigenous peoples in Russia. This work contributes to this discussion by revealing the tensions and potentially contradictory strategies of indigenous people within a world shaken by change, uncertainty, and disorder.

“Petra Rethmann’s evocative Tundra Passages breaks completely new ground in ethnography from the Russian Far East. Drawing on conversations and experiences shared with Koriak women living on northeastern Kamchatka peninsula, she conveys the human dignity and creative energy that persist in the midst of social suffering following the breakdown of the Soviet empire. Rethmann demonstrates how historical conditions and regional inequalities affect the lives of women who struggle to make a better world for themselves and their families. This is ethnography at its very best.”
“Post-Soviet ethnography is expanding its gaze, due in part to a surging interest in regions of the former Soviet Union that have been recently opened to the outside world. Petra Rethmann’s book represents an important contribution to this expansion. Her book sheds light on a region and group poorly represented in the ethnographic literature, the Koriak of the northeastern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula.”
“This book makes an original and creative contribution that breaks new ground in ethnography from the Russian Far East.”

Petra Rethmann is assistant professor of anthropology at McMaster University. Her work has been published in American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Anthropologica, and The Anthropology of East-Europe Review.

Also of Interest

Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list and be notified about new titles, journals and catalogs.