Pey-Yi Chu teaches courses on modern European history, environmental history and the history of science. A historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, she is interested in how ideas about nature have been shaped by culture, politics, economic practices and physical environments.
Her first book, The Life of Permafrost: A History of Frozen Earth in Russian and Soviet Science (University of Toronto Press, 2020) tells the history of permafrost as a scientific idea in order to uncover its multiple, contested meanings. By tracing the English word permafrost back to its Russian roots, The Life of Permafrost reveals the political and cultural contexts for investigating frozen earth and demonstrates the contributions of Russian and Soviet science to contemporary global understandings of the environment.
Pey-Yi Chu's current project explores how indigenous knowledges in Siberia shaped Russian and Soviet earth sciences.
Source: Pomona College