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Whole Parts: Transnational Life Histories of the Archives of Sergei and Elizabeth Shirokogoroff
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3782-9296
2021 (Russian)In: Antropologicheskij forum, ISSN 1815-8870, Vol. 17, no 51, p. 175-198Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What does an anthropologist’s archive look like? Where is it located? And is the anthropology of archives important for the understanding of anthropological thinking today? Here we answer these questions by analysing the various life histories of the archival fragments of one of the most puzzling and influential anthropologists in the history of Russian and Soviet anthropology: Sergei Mikhailovich Shirokogoroff (1887–1939). Shirokogoroff is credited as being one of the authors of the etnos theory — one of the main instruments of identity politics in Russia, China, Germany and also, in part, Japan and South Africa. The transnational life histories of Shirokogoroff and his wife Elizaveta [Elizabeth] Nikolaevna (1884–1943), and of their ideas, suggests a conception of the archive not as a single whole, but instead as a collection of forgotten, hidden, obliterated, or, on the other hand, scrupulously preserved fragments. These fragments are not centred in one place or organized around any one reading, but they nevertheless represent “partial connections”. Moreover, as we can see today with hindsight, none of these archival fragments lay inert. They have been intertwined in local political and social ontologies. Our text has an autoethnograpic quality. While illustrating separate episodes from the life of the Shirokogoroffs we also will tell of our search for the manuscripts through which we were forced onto strange paths and encounters. These greatly deepened our understanding both of the life of documents and their material links to the lives of researchers. Our article is an attempt to illustrate this complex picture which, in the end, will allow us to conclude that we have only just begun to understand the workings of the anthropologist’s archive in the history of anthropological thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences (The Kunstkamera) , 2021. Vol. 17, no 51, p. 175-198
Keywords [en]
anthropological archive, partial connections, transnationalism, Shirokogoroff, etnos, psychomental complex.
National Category
History Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-312917DOI: 10.31250/1815-8870-2021-17-51-175-198Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85126043778OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-312917DiVA, id: diva2:1660720
Note

QC 20220530

Available from: 2022-05-24 Created: 2022-05-24 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Arzyutov, Dmitry V.

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