Siberia, one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, is being impacted by global warming. On May 10, scholars from around the world gathered at the University of Chicago to try to better understand the effects of global warming on the indigenous people of Siberia. The “Siberian Thaw” workshop, which brought together scholars from a wide-variety of disciplines — including linguistics, history, anthropology — aimed to find ways to help people affected by the changes caused by climate fluctuations. Organized by Lenore Grenoble, Carl Darling Buck Professor and Department of Slavic Languages Associate Chair, the program included presentations and panel discussions by scholars, and two film screenings (“The Linguists” and “Hunters Since the Beginning of Time”).
“When you work in a remote village in Siberia, your presence profoundly impacts the local population,” Grenoble said. “We must ask what we can do for them together with them.” Global warming is affecting the entire planet, yet research on its effects in the Far North has been limited to North America. Grenoble and other participants seek to contribute to the field and enlarge the area of research through this interdisciplinary effort.
Taking place over two days – Friday, May 9, and Saturday, May 10 - the workshop featured an international line-up of conference participants, including Edward Alexeyev (Independent Scholar), David Archer (University of Chicago), Marjorie Balzer (Georgetown University), Nadezhda Bulatova (Institute of Linguistics Research, Russian Academy of Sciences), Gary Cook (Earth Island Institute), William Fitzhugh (Smithsonian Institute), Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago), K. David Harrison (Swarthmore College), Theodore Levin (Dartmouth College), Florian Stammler (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge).
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