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Editorial

Past and Present

Matthew P. Romaniello

As Sibirica moves forward, I hope to highlight more connections between past and present. As an interdisciplinary journal regularly featuring the work of historians and social scientists, Sibirica is positioned to feature the works of scholars that bridge the disciplinary “divide” and publish research that addresses fundamental issues that influence all of our work. I hope to encourage our colleagues to think topically and work with an awareness of how other disciplines can contribute to our collective project of better understanding “Siberia” (writ large) as a unique space with a long history and an important future.

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Matthew P. Romaniello

With the arrival of volume 17, our readers will notice there have been some changes to the editorial organization of Sibirica. My predecessor, John Ziker, has stepped away from his role as editor after several years of dedicated service. We are fortunate that he will still be involved with the journal moving forward, taking on the new role of book review editor as well as acting as an associate editor to help with the transition. Dmitry Arzyutov has also joined the journal as a new associate editor. Dmitry produced a special issue for Sibirica last year, “Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Fieldworking in the North,” and we look forward to his future contributions to the journal as an exciting new voice in the field. There have also been several changes to the editorial advisory board, beginning with the appointment of Alexander King, who joins it after many years of service as one of our editors. Our other new board members are Alfrid Bustanov, Jessica Graybill, Igor Krupnik, Erika Monahan, and Hiroki Takakura. This established and prominent group only adds to the stature of our returning board members, extending our breadth and depth in the fields, as well as bringing in expertise in new approaches and methodologies that will complement our existing work.

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Editorial

New Beginnings

Matthew P. Romaniello

Our new volume begins with a departure. Tatiana Argounova-Low, following a long term as an associate editor, has left the journal to focus on other projects. We owe her a great debt of thanks for all her work for the journal, which included numerous translations over the years. Most recently, she and Jenanne Ferguson translated the entirety of our last issue on “Indigenous Methodology in the Study of the Native Peoples of Siberia.” The project was an enormous undertaking. We know that Tatiana’s contributions will continue to be valuable for the field and for Sibirica and wish her the best with her future endeavors.

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Matthew P. Romaniello

Russian imperialism continues to leave a strong imprint on indigenous cultures across Siberia, and throughout the Russian Federation and the post-Soviet republics. Imperialism is invasive and persistent, and it might be impossible to escape its consequences. In 1986, African novelist and postcolonial theorist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o published his influential essay collection, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. One of his arguments is that no postcolonial subject could be free from the constraints of imperialism until she or he succeeded in freeing the mind from the trap of an imposed (and foreign) language. Ngũgĩ’s experience was based on his own life growing up in Kenya, but his lesson is as applicable to Siberia as it is for East Africa. For indigenous Siberians, language and education are at the forefront of the ongoing postcolonial struggle to maintain their cultural identities in modern Russia.