By Rolant Czvetkovski (ed.), Aleksis Hoffmeister (ed.)
Ethnographers helped to understand, to appreciate and in addition to form imperial in addition to Soviet Russia’s cultural variety. This quantity specializes in the contexts during which ethnographic wisdom used to be created. frequently, ethnographic findings have been outdated via imperial discourse: Defining areas, connecting them with ethnic origins and conceiving nationwide entities unavoidably implied the mapping of political and old hierarchies. yet past those spatial conceptualizations the essays quite handle the categorical stipulations within which ethnographic wisdom seemed and adjusted. at the one hand, they flip to different fields into which ethnographic wisdom poured and materialized, i.e., heritage, historiography, anthropology or ideology. at the different, they both examine the influence of the explicit codecs, i.e., photos, maps, atlases, lectures, songs, museums, and exhibitions, on educational in addition to non-academic manifestations.
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Extra info for An Empire of Others: Creating Ethnographic Knowledge in Imperial Russia and the USSR
Fieldwork studies often structured their fields of inquiry, as well as their presentation of the results, after the categories already established in the Notes and Queries. With Tylor and Prichard and eventually James George Frazer (1854–1941), the period of armchair scholars in anthropology inevitably ended. However, Frazer’s voluminous study of magic and religion, The Golden Bough (1911–1936), still influenced anthropologists of generations to come, like Bronisław Malinowski (1884–1942) and Claude Levi-Strauss (1908–2009), who claimed to have read it in their student days.
The overall picture changed significantly starting from the end of the 1890s. It is a generally held view that the Torres Straits expedition of 1898, led by the Baptist zoologist Alfred Cort Haddon (1855– 1940), who lost his faith because of Darwin’s findings and specialized in the study of invertebrates, profoundly shaped the character of the discipline. It demonstrated how the quality of anthropological data at hand could be enhanced. 33 First, information was thereafter acquired firsthand. The anthropologist became an instrument of scientific inquiry itself.
The ethnographic description covered the indigenous Kamchadals in the same manner as the Russian settlers. For Müller there was no methodological difference between examining the lives of alien tribes and European colonists. He nevertheless understood the colonial traits of the observed living conditions. But his scientific perspective clearly mirrors the age before the advent of nationalism. In his effort to separate historical and ethnographic fields of research, in 1740 Müller published more instructions describing in great detail the forms of ethnographic observation in the field and unbiased description.