From Aliaska to Alaska

This week’s episode is the third of seven events Distant Friends and Intimate Enemies: The US and Russia, the Fall 2020 Speakers Series at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. If you want to see the entire schedule go to REEES’ website.

Russian colonization stretched all the way to Alaska, the empire’s only overseas colony. Russian America was not just a trading conduit to the Americas, Russian settlers instituted colonial administration over the indigenous population. But in 1867, the Russian government sold its Alaskan possession to the United States, which in turn, established its own colonial rule. This live interview with Bathsheba Demuth and Ilya Vinkovetsky will discuss the history of Alaska, Russian and American settlement and rule, and the transformation of its indigenous people.


Bathsheba Demuth is an Assistant Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University, where she specializes in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. She is the author of the multiple-prize winning book, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait published by W.W. Norton.

Ilya Vinkovetsky is associate professor in the History Department at Simon Fraser University. He’s the author of Russian America: An Overseas Colony of a Continental Empire published by Oxford University Press.


Johnny Cash, “When it’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below),” Murder, 2000.