Writing the History of the Northern “Field”

An Introductory Note

in Sibirica

What do we know about the fieldwork of the ethnographers/ anthropologists of the North? How did they organize their research and what ideas have they left behind in their now archived field notes? Historians of anthropology along with anthropologists attempt to find answers to these questions through the analysis of field notes, diaries, letters, and reports, as well as published and unpublished works from the fieldworkers of the past. Despite the thousands of field notes and multiple narratives about how pre-Soviet and Soviet anthropologists heroically conducted their research in “uncivilized conditions” in remote areas, and how they were captured by ideologies of evolutionism, Soviet modernization and development, we still know little about their field research as a practice. This issue titled, “Beyond the Anthropological Texts: History and Theory of Fieldworking in the North” aims to start a discussion on the history and ethnography of ethnographic fieldworking in the North and Siberia.

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Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies