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GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

 

Forest and Grassland: Recent Trends in Russian Environmental History

Randall Dills


Global Environment 12 (2013): 38–61

More and more historians are turning their attention to Russia’s environment. New research on the territories forest and grasslands demonstrate the ways this scholarship challenges traditional narratives of Russian history, that often sees it as unique or exceptional, and shows how the Russian experience has global significance for environmental history. As environmental history progresses from its roots in local and regional American stories to the global and comparative scale, scholars of Russian environmental history are uniquely positioned to shape debates about nature, culture, and identity. Historians of Africa, Asia, and the Americas and transnational subjects such as the forest will find common points of understanding in stories of a Russia that sought to forcibly transform nature and alternatively, sought to mitigate anxiety about environmental degradation through a range of scientific and culturally distinct solutions. A new group of scholars trained as environmental historians promise to contribute to a revision of Russian historiography and assure a central position in global conversations about nature and the human place within it. Finally, the author urges scholars to assess the pre-Revolutionary era in more depth and calls for an integration of urban and environmental methods in Russian environmental historiography.
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