Andy Bruno is an environmental historian of Russia and the Soviet Union with an interest in many aspects of human interactions with the natural world. My main scholarly ambition has been to demonstrate the pertinence of environmental perspectives to major questions in Russian history. This goal has led me to write about animals and avalanches, energy and economy, revolution and repression, waste and water, science and socialism, and other themes. In this scholarship, I have highlighted the role of nature as an actor in history and the place of the Russian environmental experience in comparative and global history. A focus on specific locations—the Russian Arctic and the Siberian taiga, for instance—also characterizes my approach to environmental history. Most recently, my research has turned toward questions of human engagements with outer space and the variable climate system on this planet.
I work as an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Faculty Associate in Environmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. My first book, The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. I have also published journal articles in Environmental History, Slavic Review, Kritika, Isis, WIREs Climate Change, REGION, and the International Review of Social History and chapters in several edited volumes.
Earlier in my career I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Science / Environmental History of the North at Florida State University (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar in “Threatened Orders” Collaborative Research Center at the University of Tübingen (2013). I received my BA in history from Reed College (2003), MA in Russian studies from the European University at Saint Petersburg (2004), and PhD in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011).
My research has been generously supported by various agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Program, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For 2017-2018, I have also been awarded a Fellowship in Aerospace History from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the History of Science Society to study the history of the Tunguska explosion of 1908 and the efforts to understand it.