David G. Anderson

Published On


Page Range

pp. 203-248

Print Length

45 pages

5. Notes from His “Snail’s Shell”: Shirokogoroff’s Fieldwork and the Groundwork for Etnos Thinking

This chapter surveys the fieldwork of Sergei Shirokogoroff and his wife Elizabeta in north-eastern Zabaikal’e in 1912 and 1913 to document the people whom he identified as Orochens. According to his own reflections, he felt his ideas on etnos and his acquaintance with Tungus shamanism, occurred at this time. Through surveying manuscripts and letters written from the field, or shortly after, the article weights the atmosphere of competition and introspection that may have led him and his wife to seek out ever more isolated peripheries from which to theorize. Nevertheless, this first encounter with Orochen hunters and shamans would form the kernel of his theory of cultural resilience and degradation which would be a constant theme in his life’s work. The paper is illustrated with one map, one diagram and five photographs.


David G. Anderson