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The Amerikan Steppes: Russian Influences on the Great Plains

Project: Research project (funded)Research

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This project explores influences from the Russian steppes on the American Great Plains. By analyzing connections between two regions with similar environments and environmental histories, it considers how far the transformation of the Great Plains into a major agricultural region drew on prior Russian experience on the steppes. Drawing on research spanning the humanities, social and natural sciences, it sheds light on this underresearched
aspect of American history and challenges preconceptions of the relationship between Russia and the USA. Moreover, it offers historical analogies to contemporary issues of global food security and sustainability at a
time of environmental change.

Layman's description

We think of the Great Plains as quintessentially American. The home of cowboys, Stetsons and the tumbling tumbleweed has been immortalized by Hollywood. We also tend to think that the West has been the origin of most innovations, which have then spread around the globe. This project challenges these ideas. The American Plains were shaped by influences from the Russian and Ukrainian steppe. When Euro-American settlers ploughed up the Plains from the 1860s, they drew on the prior knowledge of Slav, German and Mennonite settlers on the steppe, who had already accumulated several decades experience of farming in drought-prone environments.
Effective start/end date1/09/1531/08/17

Award relations

The Amerikan Steppes: Russian Influences on the Great Plains

Moon, D.


Award date: 26/11/14

Award: UK Charity

    Research areas

  • E151 United States (General) - Great Plains, Environmental History, US Dept of Agriculture, Mennonites, Crops, Soil Science, Forestry
  • DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics - Steppe
  • S Agriculture (General)

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