The Ethnographer Boris Aleksandrovich Vasiliev and his Essay “Five Days among Orochis”: Writing Strategies in Soviet Ethnography
[Etnograf Boris Aleksandrovich Vasiliev i ego ocherk “Piat’ dnei sredi orochei”: strategii pis’ma v sovetskoi etnografii]
Type of publication: Editor's Introduction
Boris Vasiliev, Tungus expedition, Orochis, ethnographic text, Moscow ethnographic school
The article introduces and examines a text written by a Moscow ethnographer Boris Vasiliev. In order to present the results of fieldwork conducted among the Orochis in 1927, he employed the genre of essay one of the most interesting genres in the history of early Soviet ethnography, which has received little attention to date. We inquire into the process of writing academic texts, considering a wide range of circumstances: the prevailing theoretical matrix, ideological climate, biographical context, and interactions with colleagues or informants. The publication of Vasiliev’s essay provides an opportunity to review and rethink research strategies and methodologies used by representatives of the Moscow ethnographic school. The essay is of substantial interest as an important ethnographic source containing detailed descriptions of the Orochi funeral rite; it further acquaints the present-day scholar with a particular strategy of writing based on reflexivity and personal experience. We reconsider the contributions of Boris Vasiliev to Russian scholarship, particularly to the preparation of chapters of the well-known collective work on “Peoples of Siberia” (1956). We argue that the works of early Soviet ethnographers demonstrate varying degrees of “filtration” or “distillation” of scholarly knowledge, which helps us to reflect both on the role of the researcher and his field experience and the role of academic schools, traditions, and discussions in the production of texts of various genres.
Funding InformationThis research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Foundation for Basic Research, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100002261 [grant no. 18-09- 00537]
Sirina, A.A., and V.N. Davydov. 2020. The Ethnographer Boris Aleksandrovich Vasiliev and his Essay “Five Days among Orochis”: Writing Strategies in Soviet Ethnography [Etnograf Boris Aleksandrovich Vasiliev i ego ocherk “Piat’ dnei sredi orochei”: strategii pis’ma v sovetskoi etnografii]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 5–22. https://doi.org/10.31857/S086954150012346-0
Full text is distributed by eLIBRARY.ru