By Rolant Czvetkovski (ed.), Aleksis Hoffmeister (ed.)
Ethnographers helped to understand, to appreciate and likewise to form imperial in addition to Soviet Russia’s cultural variety. This quantity makes a speciality of the contexts within which ethnographic wisdom was once created. frequently, ethnographic findings have been outmoded by means of imperial discourse: Defining areas, connecting them with ethnic origins and conceiving nationwide entities unavoidably implied the mapping of political and historic hierarchies. yet past those spatial conceptualizations the essays fairly tackle the categorical stipulations within which ethnographic wisdom seemed and altered. at the one hand, they flip to the various fields into which ethnographic wisdom poured and materialized, i.e., historical past, historiography, anthropology or ideology. at the different, they both ponder the impression of the categorical codecs, i.e., images, maps, atlases, lectures, songs, museums, and exhibitions, on educational in addition to non-academic manifestations.
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Extra resources for An Empire of Others: Creating Ethnographic Knowledge in Imperial Russia and the USSR
Immanuel Kant, “Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht” [Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view], in I. Kant, Schriften zur Anthropologie, Geschichtsphilosophie, Politik und Pädagogik 2 [Writings in anthropology, the philosophy of history, politics, and pedagogy 2], ed. W. Weischedel (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2000). For the history of medical knowledge: M. Foucault, Naissance de la clinique. Une archéologie du regard medical (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963). 28 Alexis Hofmeister (Kunstsachen) were collected; and where rationalism and empiricism as instruments of research, education, and cultivation were held in the highest esteem.
In keeping with this aim, ethnographic information had to be gathered from all available sources, such as travelers’ or traders’ reports. ”28 Prichard’s thought was guided by an essentialist interpretation of biblical stories. While human beings, as descendants of Noah and his family, were dispersed all over the globe, some parts of humankind degenerated, while others advanced. This variation, which according to Prichard could include racial characteristics, depended on the circumstances of life and signified the innate and common potential of all humans.
Unlike in the Central and Western European perspective, however, the collection of ethnographic knowledge was separated from its evaluation and utilization. The St. Petersburg RGO, in contrast to the Ethnological or the Anthropological Society of London, was not particularly interested in the prehistory of mankind. Its surveys of the ethnic and social heterogeneity of the Russian Empire owed a great deal to the belief that with its help, imperial rule could be exercised in a more enlightened and efficient manner.
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