Reviews

The Director of the Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Academy of Science of Russia, the author sketches a picture of the present state of these disciplines in Russia, pointing out the appearance of fields and subjects new in the former Soviet domain, and that of new subdisciplines like human ethology, studies on religions, conflict studies, studies on migrations, political and legal anthropology, and gender studies.  The disappearance of censorship and the expansion of the book market have permitted since the late 1980s an unprecedented multiplication of publications, whilst the deep philosophical crisis endured by former Soviet ‘ethnography’ since the early 1990s has not yet given way to a full theoretical reappraisal of the Russian anthropological tradition.

Another figure of present-day Russian anthropology continues his historical narrative on the development of ethnography in the early Soviet period (see in supra 41 my review of his paper on the theoreticdal experimentations in the journal Etnografiia in the late 1920s) recalls the events of the 1930s—focusing on the merging of the Institute for the Study of the Peoples of the USSR with the Musum of Anhthropology and Ethnography into the newly created Institute of Ethnography, and on the difficulties of the wwii period (Reshetov A. M., “Institut antropologii i etnografii – Institut etnografii AN SSSR, 1933-1943 gg. [The Institute of Anthropology and Ethnography – the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1933-1943],” ibid.: 24-42).

A last, very descriptive contribution deals with the history of the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, through its creation in 1933 in Leningrad (where it formed a single body with the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography), its evacuation then years later towards Moscow, where a branch was installed under S. P. Tolstov’s direction, and its further evolution till out days (dramatic paragraph on the session against the nonconformist Sergei A. Tokarev’s “Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR” in 1958; colourful pages on the refurbishing of the director’s office in the late 1960s, after Tolstov’s departure), and the impact of interpersonal relations over the overall atmosphere and content of research (upon the interruption of exchanges with archaeologists, and the irruption of sociologists).

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-1.2.A-49