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Accepted Paper:

Harri Moora between “bourgeois nationalism“ and Soviet ethnography  
Indrek Jääts (Estonian National Museum)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how did Estonian archaeologist Harri Moora, a man with clearly “bourgeois nationalist” biography from the pre-war decades, managed to continue his professional career in Soviet period and even to become the main policymaker in post-war Estonian ethnography.

Paper long abstract:

Harri Moora (1900-1968) was an Estonian archaeologist, but also very important policymaker in the post-war Soviet Estonian ethnography. He was a slightly leftist intellectual with clearly nationalistic background, educated at the Tartu University in the 1920s. Besides of archaeology, he was always interested in ethnography too. These disciplines were quite close in pre-war Estonia and Soviet Union. His wife Aliise Moora was a professional ethnographer.

The cream of Estonian ethnography fled to the West during the war. At least one was arrested by the Soviets and died in prison camp. There were no educated ethnographers who could teach their discipline at the Soviet Tartu University. Harri Moora, the professor of archaeology since 1938, took charge of ethnography, considering it an important branch of Estonian studies. He made contacts with leading Soviet ethnographers and started to find ways to accommodate Estonian ethnography to the Soviet academy.

Harri Moora was accused of “bourgeois nationalism” in 1950. The chair of archaeology was closed down in Tartu. However, somehow Moora managed to avoid arrest and continue career in Tallinn, at Soviet Estonian Academy of Sciences. Did his well-established colleagues from Moscow support him as a well-respected scholar making his contribution to Estonian and Soviet ethnography? Did he have an arrangement with KGB? Moora remained the main policymaker in Estonian ethnography until his death. He directed studies of Estonian ethnogenesis in the 1950s, edited general overviews of the Estonian folk culture, was active in ethnographic map-making etc.

Panel Know10a
The legacies of nationalistic ideologies: challenging the epistemological rules of ethnological knowledge production after 1945 [SIEF Working Group on Historical Approaches in Cultural Analysis]
  Session 1 Tuesday 22 June, 2021, -