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
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.
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