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Notes on Transliteration and Place Names

This volume references texts published in a number of languages, and often the names of the cities where those works were printed were changed. Throughout the text, we have transliterated Russian and Ukrainian Cyrillic text using the Library of Congress system complete with diacritics. Chinese names have for the most part been transliterated using the Hanyu Pinyin system. We refer to cities as they were known during the exact year that is under discussion in that section or paragraph. In the first instance, we put the modern name of the city in square brackets. Thus,

  • St Petersburg — Petrograd — Leningrad — St Petersburg
  • I͡Ur’ev — Tartu
  • Beiping [Peiping] — Běijīng
  • Amoy — Xiàmén
  • Canton — Guǎngzhōu

We have used the same Library of Congress transliteration standard for both Russian language categories and the surnames of Russian language authors with two exceptions. The key term of this book этнос is properly transliterated as ėtnos. Given the density of reference to the term, and the fact that the term is widely mentioned in European languages, we have transliterated it in the text as etnos, although it remains correctly transliterated in the reference lists. The surname of Sergei Shirokogorov is most widely known by his French-inflected transliteration ‘Shirokogoroff’ and we use that version in the text. The other published variants of his surname are Shirokogorov (Широкогоров), Chirokogoroff, Śirokogorov, Shǐ lù guó (史禄国), Shokogorov (シロコゴロフ). These versions can all be found in the reference lists.

Quoted texts and bibliographic references use the transliteration system in the original published text, which may differ from the system in this volume.

Notes on Referencing Archival and Museum Collections

This volume references American, British, Estonian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian archives.

The references to the collections of Russian and Estonian archives are organised as follows: a collection is divided into the inventory lists of documents which in their turn are divided into folders. For example, the reference SPF ARAN 282-2-319 reads as: St Petersburg Filial of the Archive of Russian Academy of Sciences, collection (fond) 282, inventory list (opis’) 2, document (edinit͡sa khranenii͡a or delo) 319.

Russian museums with archival collections use two different systems: one for museum objects and artefacts and one for the museum archive. A combination of the abbreviation and item number refers to the collection of photographs or artefacts. The same system is used in institutions storing phonograph wax cylinders. The abbreviation of a museum starting with “A” refers to the museum archive. Some institutions have their internal departmental archive which has only numbers of folders (papki) following the abbreviation of an institution [The Phonograph Archive of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg]. For example, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg uses the abbreviation MAĖ for photographic and museum collections, and the abbreviation AMAĖ RAN for the archival collections. For an example of the archeographic work with Russian archival documents, see the appendix to chapter 5.

American, British, Polish and Ukrainian archives use the system of classifying archival documents as follows: abbreviation of an archive, collection, box and sometimes folder. In addition to this system, some archives use the year category (The Archive of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge) or the Russian opisi (Museum of Russian Culture in San Francisco).

The references to photographs of the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in Cambridge includes the type of images (film or negative), the number, and first letters of a collector’s surname. For example, F.126021.LIN reads as a film (F.) under the number 126021 which was delivered to the museum by Ethel J. Lindgren (LIN).

Chinese archives use only the number of file (yuan/juan).

And finally, the personal archives that are used in this book do not have any internal system of classifications, with the exception of the collection of Donald Tumasonis [TumA], who personally numbered his incoming and outgoing correspondence.


David G. Anderson holds the Chair in the Anthropology of the North at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of Identity and Ecology in Arctic Siberia (2000) and editor of several volumes in northern anthropology, the most of recent of which was About the Hearth (2009). He recently completed a large international project funded by an ERC Advanced Grant called Arctic Domus (2012–2018). His most recent research in the history of anthropology includes an overview of the human-animal relationships in the circumpolar north for Annual Reviews of Anthropology (2017) and an article co-authored with Dmitry V. Arzyutov on Sergei Shirokogoroff in Current Anthropology (forthcoming 2019).

Sergei S. Alymov is a Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen. He is an author of the monograph P. I. Kushner i razvitie sovetskoĭ ėtnografii v 1920–1950-e gody (2006) and a number of articles on the history of social sciences and humanities in Russia and the Soviet Union. His recent publications include ‘“This is Profitable for All”: Agrarian Economists and the Soviet Plan-Market Debate in the Post-Stalinist Period’ in Jahrbucher fur Geschichter Osteuropas (2017), and ‘Activating the “Human Factor”: Do the Roots of Neo-Liberal Subjectivity Lie in the “Stagnation”?’ in Forum for Anthropology and Culture (2018).

Dmitry V. Arzyutov is a doctoral student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. He holds a doctorate in anthropology (Kunstkamera, St Petersburg) and is working on his second doctorate in the History of Science and Environment. He has published extensively in Russian, English, and French on indigenous religions in South Siberia, environmental anthropology and history of the Russian Arctic, the history of Russian/Soviet anthropology in a transnational context, and visual anthropology. He is also the author of the documentary film Samoyedic Diary (2016), which is based on early Soviet visual archival documents from the north. His most recent publications include the special issue entitled ‘Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Field Working in the Nort’ in Sibirica (2017), and the edited volume Nenet͡skoe olenevodstvo: geografii͡a, ėtnografii͡a, lingvistika (2018).

Jocelyne Dudding is the Manager of Photographic Collections at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. She is interested in the history of expedition photography in the South Pacific and in Inner Asia and their use in subsequent re-presentation by originating communities. She is the author of River, Stars, Reindeer (2015), the catalogue relating to the co-curation of a multi-voice exhibition on a historical set of photographs with Evenki and Orochens from, and academics in, Inner Mongolia and Eastern Siberia. Jocelyne’s ongoing research focuses on photographs as objects of cultural property, and their positioning in museums and by source communities. As such she is currently participating in a number of collaborative museum projects to re-connect dispersed photographic collections and improve their access and agency for all stakeholders.

Nathaniel Knight is an Associate Professor of Russian and East European History at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He has published extensively on the history of the human sciences in Russia and concepts of identity in Russian culture. His most recent article is ‘Geography, Race and the Malleability of Man: Karl von Baer and the Problem of Academic Particularism in the Russian Human Sciences’ in Centaurus (2017). He is currently writing a monograph on the history of Russian ethnography.

Svetlana V. Podrezova is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Leading Curator of the collections at St Petersburg State Conservatory named after N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov. Her research interests include the history of Russian folklore and ethnography, Russian musical folklore, pragmatics and the musical poetics of revolutionary, street, and mass songs in Russia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is currently preparing a monograph on the Easter troparion ‘Christ is Risen’ as a folklore phenomenon in Russian culture.

Masha Shaw (formerly Maria Nakhshina) holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Aberdeen. She carried out multiple research projects in the northwest of Russia, particularly in coastal villages along the White Sea coast. Her research interests include small-scale fisheries and fishing collective farms, rural migration and lifestyle, sense of home and local identity, resource governance and indigeneity movements in post-Soviet Russia, and more recently research ethics. She currently works as a Researcher Development Adviser at the Postgraduate Research School at the University of Aberdeen, looking after professional development training of doctoral students across disciplines.

Natalie Wahnsiedler is a doctoral student of anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, interested in questions of identity, indigeneity and the history of ethnography in Northwest Russia. She holds a Master of Arts degree in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Marburg (Germany). Prior to starting her doctoral project, she also completed a one-year Master of Arts programme in Russian and Eurasian studies at the European University in St Petersburg.


A great many colleagues and friends have helped us to assemble the research that has gone into this book. First of all, we express our gratitude to Donald Tumasonis of Horten, Norway, a man who has spent more than forty years of his life compiling the archive of Sergei M. Shirokogoroff. He generously shared his collection with us, which helped us enormously in the reconstruction of Shirokogoroff’s biography that deeply intertwined with the biography of etnos theory.

Our archival research would never have been successful without the help and recommendations of our colleagues from different countries. Rusana Cieply (Berkley), Elena Davydova, Evgenii͡a Zakharova, Ekaterina Kapustina, Aleksandra Kasatkina, Natal’i͡a Komelina, Ksenii͡a Radetskai͡a, Sergeĭ Shmykov, Dari͡a Vakhoneva (St Petersburg) and Dari͡a Tereshina (Halle) all helped us identify and transcribe a vast collection of archival documents in St Petersburg.

Tanzila Chabieva, Anna Gromova, Svetlana Koni͡aeva, Olga Shemi͡akina, Tamara Tsareva (Moscow) professionally and incessantly helped to catalogue and interpret the archives of contemporary Soviet ethnographers in Moscow.

We are thankful to Dr. Olena Braichenko (Kiev) who worked extensively in the archives in Kiev, and helped us identify secondary literature in Ukrainian.

Laura Siragusa (Helsinki) helped us navigate and transcribe the documents from The National Archives of Estonia (Tartu).

Prof. Roberte Hamayon (Paris) and Dr. Aurore Dumont (Paris/Sha Tin) shared their contacts and expertise to try to find the archival records of the Shirokogoroffs in Paris. Dr. István Sántha (Budapest) helped us to classify the collection of Ethel J. Lindgren. Dr. Elena Volzhanina (Ti͡umen’) spent many hours and days with the manuscripts of Sergei M. Shirokogoroff, making them publishable. We are also grateful to Prof. Hitoshi Yamada (Sendai) for his work transcribing the Shirokogoroff archive in Taipei. Finally, we would like to thank Yuanyuan [Kathy] Xie (Běijīng) and Kun-hui Ku (Běijīng) for helping us to navigate and interpret the Chinese language literature on Shirokogoroff; and Yves Franquien (San Francisco) and Patricia Polansky (Honolulu) for their help and recommendations with archival research in the US.

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the relatives of Shirokogoroff-Robinson — Elena Robinson (St Petersburg), Vladimir Shirokogorov (Moscow) and Dr. Natalia Shirokogorova (Saratov) — who shared their family archives with us. We would also like to thank Nikolaĭ Kradin (Vladivostok) for sharing his personal archive with us.

We also thank all the archivists in the over thirty archival institutions and libraries where we worked for their generous support of our research.

Our special thanks go out to our colleagues who helped us with the interpretations of huge archival collections at our research meetings and through email correspondence: Dr. Martin Beisswenger (Moscow), Dr. Uradyn Bulag (Cambridge), Dr. Vladimir Davydov (St Petersburg), Prof. Bruce Grant (New York), Prof. Nathaniel Knight (New York), Dr. Jeff Kochan (Konstanz), Prof. David McDonald (Wisconsin-Madison), Prof. Serguei Oushakine (Princeton), Prof. Peter Schweitzer (Vienna), Dr. Christoph Seidler (Freiburg), Dr. Joshua Smith (Victoria), Prof. Sergeĭ Sokolovskiĭ (Moscow), Dr. Khristina Tur’inskai͡a (Moscow), Prof. Nikolaĭ Vakhtin (St Petersburg).

We are grateful to our colleagues from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen and Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) and especially Dr. I͡Uriĭ Chistov for their support and advice over the course of our work on this project.

We would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers who helped us restructure the manuscript, and especially Olga Pak (Karlsruhe) for translating some chapters of the volume from Russian into English and Dr. Marionne Cronin (Winnipeg) who helped us with the copy-editing.

A special word of thanks is due to Prof. Aleksandr Semyonov from the Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg for his invitation to publish an earlier version of chapter 2 in the journal Ab Imperio. We are also grateful to the journal Ėtnograficheskoe obozrenie for publishing abridged Russian-language versions of chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6 in a special issue guest edited by Dr. Sergei S. Alymov: “The Invention of Etnos: The Unknown History of a Well-known Theory” (no. 5, 2017).

All images reproduced in this book have permission from their archival institutions.

This book would not have been possible without the financial support of The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC ES/K006428/1) “Etnos: A life history of the etnos concept among the Peoples of the North” (2013–2017). This project also benefited from earlier sponsored research from the Leverhulme Trust “Etnos and minzu: The histories and politics of identity governance in Eurasia” (IN-2012-138) (2012–2017) and the Wenner Gren Foundation “The concept of etnos in post-Soviet Russia: The ethnogenesis of the Peoples of the North” (ICRG 103) (2011–2013).