Lev Shternberg: Anthropologist, Russian Socialist, Jewish by Sergei Kan

By Sergei Kan

This highbrow biography of Lev Shternberg (1861–1927) illuminates the improvement anthropology in past due imperial and early Soviet Russia. almost immediately after the formation of the Soviet Union the govt initiated a close ethnographic survey of the country’s peoples. Lev Shternberg, who as a political exile throughout the past due tsarist interval had performed ethnographic learn in northeastern Siberia, was once one of many anthropologists who directed this survey and hence performed a huge position in influencing the professionalization of anthropology within the Soviet Union.But Shternberg was once even more than a central authority anthropologist. below the hot regime he endured his paintings because the senior curator of the St. Petersburg Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, which started within the early 1900s. within the final decade of his existence Shternberg additionally performed a number one position in constructing a brand new Soviet college of cultural anthropology and in education a cohort anthropologists. actual to the beliefs of his adolescence, he additionally persevered an energetic involvement within the highbrow lifetime of the Jewish group, although the hot regime used to be making it more and more difficult. This in-depth biography explores the scholarly and political points of Shternberg’s lifestyles and the way they encouraged one another. It additionally areas his occupation in either nationwide and overseas views, displaying the context within which he lived and labored and revealing the $64000 advancements in Russian anthropology in the course of those tumultuous years. (20100305)

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By 1287 the Mongol Yuan Dynasty had established garrisons on the island, and by the early fourteenth century the last of the Ainu chiefs had submitted to them. However, with the decline of the dynasty, its posts on the island were abandoned. The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) resumed China’s contacts with the island, but unlike the Mongols the Ming forces expanded into the lower Amur delta and Sakhalin without resorting to arms. Instead, they collected tributes of furs in exchange for beads and silk products.

In the wake of the arrest of one of its leaders whose notebook contained the names and addresses of many People’s Will’s members, the Populist movement continued to be devastated by one arrest after another. Determined to keep the movement alive by linking his southern, Ukraine-based group with party members located in Russia proper, Shternberg embarked on a trip to several major southern cities as well as Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the course of this journey he conversed with a number of energetic young Populists, including Al’bert Gausman, Lev Kogan-Bernshtein, Boris Orzhikh, Anastasiia Shekhter-Minor, and his future colleague and fellow ethnographer Vladimir (Nathan) Bogoraz.

He was now almost thirty and his ideology had already been pretty much formed. Because it had a major influence on his ethnographic research and writing, this ideology needs to be examined in some detail. A review of Shternberg’s prison notebooks leads me to believe that while he was a typical Russian Populist in many respects, his views on culture and history were quite unique. The main source of this uniqueness was his strong identification with the Jewish people. 13 Despite the fact that “populism was a diffuse movement with no codified ideology,” its adherents did share a set of basic views on the nature of society, causes of social progress, and goals of a progressive social science, formulated by its two leading thinkers, Piotr Lavrov and Nikolai Mikhailovskii, and their followers (Vucinich 1970:22).

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