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Accepted Paper:

Ethnic histories and ethnohistories in Siberia  


David Anderson (University of Aberdeen)

Paper short abstract:

Russian and North American ethnographies remaind divided by a hyphen - symbolizing different approaches to documents "deep" historical continuities as opposed to alternate frames of time and space. This paper compares these two approaches

Paper long abstract:

In both Russia and North America, the authoritative construction of identity has beena tasks entrusted to university scholars working with indigenous communi­ties. In comparison to other parts of the world, the imperial and post-imperial histories of these two regions are roughly similar, as are the history of statecraft and their ecologies. It is striking however that in each regions there have evolved different theoretical models for discussing identity. In Russia, the tradition of constructing 'ethnic histories' is marked by a concern for finding deep, long-term continuities of practice and speech that mark rather inflexible cores of identity in groups of people. The North American tradition of writing 'ethnohistory', by contrast, has focussed on the way that groups of people describe their own sense of belonging and even develop their own understandings of how time flows and events link together. As members of indigenous communities themselves take more prominent roles in university communities, and as North American and Russian scholars engage more frequently , there have been more opportunities for the two schools of thought to borrow from each other. This paper evaluates some of the more interesting trends in this dialogue.

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Whose rules? Indigenous historicities from the north