Accepted Paper:

Order out of chaos: political history and anthropological theory of Sergei M. Shirokogoroff (1920-1930s)  

Author:

Dmitry Arzyutov (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the political history of the Russian and Chinese anthropologist Sergei Shirokogoroff (1887-1939) and shows how his anti-Soviet political activity in Vladivostok and Beijing and the development of his theories of ethnos and ‘psychomental complex’ were closely intertwined.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the political history of the Russian and Chinese anthropologist Sergei M. Shirokogoroff (1887-1939). Relying on correspondence, newspapers, and political pamphlets published in the Russian Far East and China, the author argues that Shirokogoroff's concept of ethnos was closely interlinked with his political activity - non-socialistic movement (R. nesosy) in Vladivostok and Anti-communist Committee in Beijing. A comparative study of his political writings and personal letters from different archives in the UK, the USA, Russia, and other countries opens up the internal life history of his political views and ethnos and 'psychomental complex' theories. In his letters to the Russian ethnographer Shternberg and the Polish linguist Kotwicz he compared his 'participant observation' in Civil War provisional governments in Vladivostok and his work with people from the different corners of the world in China to his learning from Tungus shamans in Zabaikal'e and even his own shaman experience. Simultaneously he taught some ethnographic courses at Far East University in Vladivostok, which according to his notes were the foundation of his book "Etnos" (1923). These political documents and his teaching experience help us to clarify the relations between his pro-monarchist and strongly anti-Soviet ideas and the theories of ethnos and 'psychomental complex', which he developed during his life.

Panel P060
Themes in the history of anthropology and ethnology in Europe [Europeanist network]