Human mobility and building inclusive societies
An open reflection on leadership, solidarity, and contemporary regional integration
Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda
The Entanglement of Roads, Resources, and Informal Practices in Buriatiia
This article discusses how transportation routes affect local relations with place and resources while being simultaneously shaped by the landscape. It focuses on Okinskii district (Oka) of Buriatiia in southcentral Siberia. The Mondy-Orlik road, which connected the district with the rest of Buriatiia, offered extended opportunities for the development of extractive businesses and tourism in the district. For many residents, the greater accessibility of Oka connotes a threat to local traditions and beliefs. The article examines the interconnectedness of economic, social, and cultural changes that the Mondy-Orlik road brought to Oka. The article demonstrates how the new road became entangled with the lines that previously existed in the landscape, the connections between human and nonhuman actors, and the patterns of informal jade extraction.
This article focuses on the representations of Evenkis and their culture in a local museum in Nizhneangarsk, Russia. The article uses the elements of critical discourse analysis to highlight the interplay between the real, imaginary, and ideological. The article explores how museum representations of the Evenkis and the Evenki culture create the ideological construction of the nature of the Evenkis and reproduce ethnic hierarchies in the region. The article examines the discursive strategies, rhetoric and meaning of texts, and the events presented by the museum's exhibitions. The article shows how the museum creates the nature of the Evenkis as external others, primitive folk, in contrast to the Evenkis as internal others, citizens of the contemporary Russian society, in its attempts to shape local identities.
Two Systems of Spatial Structuring in Northern Russia and Their Effects on Local Inhabitants
Kirill V. Istomin
In northwestern Siberia, rivers historically played an essential role in structuring economic, cultural, and administrative space. The rivers’ role in spatial perception is reflected in vocabulary of some local languages. With the recent development of roads and railroads, a new way has emerged to structure socioeconomic and political space. The two systems of spatial structuring contradict each other, and their relative importance for different local groups depends on their professional and ethnocultural affiliation. This leads to different perceptions of space, distances, and geographic directions by the members of these groups. Furthermore, since the administrative borders reflect the “river” system, but the administrative power is increasingly projected along the roads and railroads, the conflict between the two systems has a political dimension.
Soviet Archeological “Discoveries” and Indigenous Evenkis
This article shows how the sensory perception of rock art guided both archeologists’ interpretations as well as indigenous worldviews in Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East. The research is based on the author's ethnographic fieldwork research among indigenous communities of the Olekma, Chara, Aldan, and Amur, and Vitim river basins in the Sakha Republic, the Amur and Zabaikalskii regions, and the Republic of Buriatiia. The article discusses Evenki herders’ and hunters’ interactions with the rock art sites and demonstrates how these sites have served as a source of ritual and cosmological inspiration. Rock art research has also been inseparable from intuitive and embodied experiences for researchers in the field who interact with rock art.
Celebrating Twenty Years of Feminist Enlightenment Projects in Tver’
Julie Hemment and Valentina Uspenskaya
In this forum, we reflect on the genesis and history of the Tver’ Center for Women's History and Gender Studies—its inspiration and the qualities that have enabled it to flourish and survive the political changes of the last twenty years, as well as the unique project of women educating women it represents. Inspired by historical feminist forebears, it remains a hub of intergenerational connection, inspiring young women via exposure to lost histories of women's struggle for emancipation during the prerevolutionary and socialist periods, as well as the recent postsocialist past. Using an ethnographic account of the center's twentieth anniversary conference as a starting point, we discuss some of its most salient and distinguishing features, as well as the unique educational project it represents and undertakes: the center's origins in exchange and mutual feminist enlightenment; its historical orientation (women educating [wo]men in emancipation history); and its commitment to the postsocialist feminist “East-West” exchange.