A research group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science on “Itineraries of Materials, Recipes, Techniques, and Knowledge in the Early Modern World” held a series of workshops (2014–2015) on the movement of knowledge (materials, techniques, objects) across Eurasia, resulting in an edited volume. Participants articulated a framework of “entangled itineraries,” “material complexes,” and “nodes of convergence” by which historians might follow routes of knowledge-making extending over very long distances and/or great spans of time. The key concepts are (1) “material complex” denoting the constellation of substances, practices, techniques, beliefs, and values that accrete as knowledge around materials; (2) the “relational field,” the social, intellectual, economic, emotional domain formed by a “node of convergence”—often a hub of trade and exchange—within which a material complex crystalizes; and (3) “itineraries,” or the routes taken by materials through which they stabilize and/ or transform.
An Essential Resource
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. A Comprehensive Bibliography. Volume I. Southeastern and East Central Europe. Edited by Irina Livezeanu with June Pachuta Farris for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2007, xvi + 892 pp., (hb) ISBN 978-0-76560-737-9.
Women and Gender in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. A Comprehensive Bibliography. Volume II. Russia, the Non-Russian Peoples of the Russian Federation, and the Successor States of the Soviet Union. Edited by Mary Zirin and Christine D. Worobec for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2007, xix + 1200 pp., $388.95 (for both volumes together), hb; ISBN 978-0-76560-737-9.
Deema Kaneff and Alexander D. King
'Culture' has become a powerful political symbol and economic resource in the information age, where the development of the service economy (including tourism) provides new opportunities to marginal groups and new challenges to dominant ones. In this introduction the authors explore a number of themes that are developed further in the following articles: the way in which 'culture' is produced, possessed and often transformed into a commodity for the market; the role of such reified culture in relations of power and inequality; the ownership of culture as a tool of identity and nation building. While to date such an interest has been largely limited to indigenous populations, here the discussion is taken a step further by focusing on the relevancy of owning culture in the Eurasian context. This allows us to expand our understanding of cultural property: as a tool available to any group seeking confirmation of an identity perceived to be under threat or as an instrument in the negotiation of a group's position vis-à-vis wider power structures.
This article presents an ethnographic study of watermelon cultivators in the Russian Far East and how they approach and respond to climatic risk. For watermelon cultivators, the spatial boundaries of climatic risk are perceived as the baseline condition for the watermelon market, in which cultivators compete with each other by dealing with uncertainties caused by weather changes. While the market is linked to the spatial boundaries of climatic risk, this connection is only meaningful when there are weather changes that differently affect individuals within the boundary; weather changes that affect individual performance in the competitive watermelon market is perceived according to a recursive and cyclic timescale, rather than a linear one as discussed by most theories of the Anthropocene.
Andrzej Rozwadowski, Brian Donahoe, Olga M. Cooke, Dmitri Funk, Iraida Nam, Christopher Hill, Tero Mustonen, Brad Paige and David G. Anderson
Peter Jordan, Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia Andrzej Rozwadowski
Andrew Wiget and Olga Balalaeva, Khanty: People of the Taiga: Surviving the 20th Century Brian Donahoe
Andrew A. Gentes, trans., Russia's Penal Colony in the Far East: A Translation of Vlas Doroshevich's “Sakhalin” Olga M. Cooke
Erich Kasten, Cultures and landscapes of the North-East Asia: 250 years of Russian-German research in ecology and culture of indigenous peoples of Kamchatka Dmitri Funk and Iraida Nam
Mertin I. Eren, Hunter-Gatherer Behavior: Human Response during the Younger Dryas Christopher Hill
Anna A. Sirina, Katanga Evenkis in the 20th Century and the Ordering of Their Life-World; Olga Ulturgasheva, Narrating the Future in Siberia: Childhood, Adolescence and Autobiography among the Eveny Tero Mustonen
Charles Hartley, G. Bike Yazicioglu, and Adam T. Smith, The Archaeology of Power and Politics in Eurasia: Regimes and Revolutions Brad Paige
Benedict J. Colombi and James F. Brooks, Keystone Nations: Indigenous Peoples and Salmon across the North Pacific David G. Anderson
Books Available for Review
Publications, Films and Conferences
Shahla Haeri, Sophie Accolas and Babak Rezvani
Nadjmabadi, Shahnaz R. (ed.) (2009), Conceptualizing Iranian Anthropology: Past and Present Perspectives (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books). viii + 278 pp. ISBN 978-1-84545-626-9.
Kamal, Mariam Nabil (2009), Le Bruit des pas, Afghanistan, vidéo couleur, 24 minutes, Ateliers Varan, avec le soutien des Service culturel de l’Ambassade de France, du Centre culturel français, du Goethe Institut et la Direction des Relations Internationales d’Arte France, en partenariat avec Afghan films, la Faculté des Beaux Arts, Kabul University, Radio Television Afghanistan, the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society.
‘Central Eurasia: Islam, Culture and Conflict’, May 2010, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
The essay provides a review of a small but remarkable book on the work of two important Native American and Siberian poets, Meditations after the Bear Feast by Navarre Scott Momaday and Yuri Vella, published in 2016 by Shanti Arts in Brunswick, Maine. Their poetic dialogue revolves around the well-known role of the bear as a sociocultural keystone species in the boreal forest zone of Eurasia and North America. The essay analyzes the understanding of dialogicity as shaping the intersubjectivity of the poets emerging from human relationships with the environment. It tries to unpack the complex and prophetic bear dream in one of Vella’s poems in which he links indigenous ontologies with urgent sociopolitical problems.
Commerce, Mobility and Masculinity among Afghan Traders in Eurasia
This article explores intersections between masculinity, mobility, generation and commerce through the everyday lives of Afghan men who make up trading networks that are active across Eurasia. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork among Afghan traders in Ukraine’s port city of Odessa and in the international trading city of Yiwu in China. Building on recent work in anthropology concerning the ‘emergent’ nature of Middle Eastern masculinities, the article brings attention to the flexible and adaptable nature of the notions of masculinity held and performed by mobile Afghan traders. It emphasises the need for such conceptions of masculinity to be treated historically and draws attention to the forms of caregiving that are especially important to the traders’ intimate lives and self-understandings. The article also highlights the significance of complex notions of trust both to the traders’ articulation of conceptions of manliness and to their everyday modes of securing a livelihood.
Siberian Archaeology and the Emergence of Pottery among Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of Northern Eurasia
Kevin Gibbs and Peter Jordan
This article examines Siberia's increasingly important role in the study of the emergence of pottery across northern Eurasia. The world's earliest pottery comes from Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer sites in East Asia. This material is typically seen as disconnected from later pottery traditions in Europe, which are generally associated with sedentary farmers. However, new evidence suggests that Asian and European pottery traditions may be linked to a Hyperborean stream of hunter-gatherer pottery dispersals that spanned eastern and western Asia, and introduced pottery into the prehistoric societies of northern Europe. As a potential bridge between the eastern and western early pottery traditions, Siberia's prehistory is therefore set to play an increasingly central role in one of world archaeology's most important debates.
Patricia Polansky, Dieter Stern, Pei-Lin Yu, Aram A. Yengoyan, Igor Krupnik, David G. Anderson, Olga Balalaeva, Andrew Wiget, Christopher Ohan, Brigitte Packendorf and Aimar Ventsel
Maya Mikhailovna Shcherbakova, ed., Knigi, bez kotorykh ne mogu rabotat’: katalog lichnoi biblioteki V. K. Arsen’eva
Stefan Bauer, Stefan Donecker, Aline Ehrenfried, and Markus Hirnsperger, eds., Bruchlinien im Eis: Ethnologie des zirkumpolaren Nordens
Leonid P. Khlobystin, Taymyr: The Archaeology of Northernmost Eurasia
Steven Sabol, Russian Colonization of Central Asia and the Genesis of Kazak National Consciousness Carol Kerven, ed., Prospects for Pastoralism in Kazakstan and Turkmenistan: From State Farms to Private Flocks
David Anderson, managing ed., with Mikhail Batashev, Nikolai Makarov, and Olga Sordia, eds., Turukhanskaia ekspeditsiia Pripoliarnoi perepisi: Etnografiia i demografiia malochislennykh narodov Severa
Francine Hirsch, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union
E. M. Glavatskaia, Religioznye traditsii khantov XVII–XX vv
Marc Garcelon, Revolutionary Passage: From Soviet to Post-Soviet Russia, 1985–2000
Edward J. Vajda, ed., Languages and Prehistory of Central Siberia
V. D. Golubchikova and Z. I. Khvtisiashvili, eds., Practical Dictionary of Siberia and the North
List of Books Received for Review