Event / Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies

Mirrorlands: the Russia-China Border, with Ed Pulford

24 Jan 2020 – 19.00

The Russia-China borderlands offer a unique vantage point from which to understand the myriad peoples, places and political cataclysms that have united and divided the world’s largest countries by territory and population respectively. With a unique past and present as home to frontier-traversing tradespeople, cross-border indigenous groups, local populations wrestling with ideas of ‘Europe’ and ‘Asia’, migrants, exiles, and twenty-first century backpackers, this juncture of worlds reveals a side to Russia-China relations little known even to Muscovites or Beijingers.

Ed Pulford discusses his recent book Mirrorlands and offers insight into these entangled pasts and presents. Mirrorlands is based on a single journey through Siberia, Inner Mongolia, the Russian Far East and Manchuria, but Ed also draws on his wider experiences in the region. Through encounters with borderland residents from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, we learn much about how each old Eurasian empire has ruled its domain before, during and since socialism, and how ordinary lives have reflected each other across the borderline. This in turn aids us in better understanding two countries that are as misrepresented as they are important in today’s world.

Ed Pulford is a Cambridge-trained linguist and social anthropologist who has spent over eight years living in the Russian Far East, China, Korea and Japan. He now works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam.

The talk is open to both SCRSS members and non-members. Normal entrance fees apply: SCRSS members £3.00 / non-members £5.00. Pay cash on entry.

Russia, China, and Journeys in Between
Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies
Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies (SCRSS)
320 Brixton Road
London, SW9 6AB
United Kingdom