Decolonizing Anthropology | Session 5 |16 May 2024|

Eight Answers to the Question if Ethnographic Research in Asian Russia Has Fared Well or Got Shipwrecked with Colonial/Decolonial Ambitions (1724-2024)

Sketching out eight short episodes from the early 18th century to the present, this presentation will show how the past and present of ethnographic research and anthropological theory cannot be separated from colonial, imperial, and geopolitical ambitions; nor can it be separated from large-scale social engineering. Simultaneously, this lecture will exemplify how anthropology in and about Siberia has been a platform for counter-discourses, political emancipation, and critique against state policies. These ambivalences have induced some colleagues to ask about similarities and distinctions between postsocialist and postcolonial scholarship. Moreover, in the light of historical “openings” and “closures” of transnational Indigenous ties and academic partnership, it is relevant to ask what the future of anthropology and activism may look like in Siberia in times of heightened geopolitical tension.