By Yuri Slezkine
For over years the Russians puzzled what sort of humans their Arctic and sub-Arctic matters have been. "They have mouths among their shoulders and eyes of their chests," suggested a fifteenth-century story. "They rove round, stay in their personal loose will, and beat the Russian people," complained a seventeenth-century Cossack. "Their activities are quite impolite. they don't take off their hats and don't bow to every other," huffed an eighteenth-century pupil. they're "children of nature" and "guardians of ecological balance," rhapsodized early nineteenth-century and past due twentieth-century romantics. Even the Bolsheviks, who categorised the circumpolar foragers as "authentic proletarians," have been again and again questioned by means of the "peoples from the overdue Neolithic interval who, by means of advantage in their severe backwardness, can't sustain both economically or culturally with the livid velocity of the rising socialist society."
Whether defined as brutes, extraterrestrial beings, or endangered indigenous populations, the so-called small peoples of the north have regularly remained some degree of distinction for speculations on Russian identification and a handy trying out floor for rules and photographs that grew out of those speculations. In Arctic Mirrors, a vividly rendered historical past of circumpolar peoples within the Russian empire and the Russian brain, Yuri Slezkine bargains the 1st in-depth interpretation of this courting. No different ebook in any language hyperlinks the historical past of a colonized non-Russian humans to the total sweep of Russian highbrow and cultural historical past. improving his account with classic prints and pictures, Slezkine reenacts the procession of Russian fur investors, missionaries, tsarist bureaucrats, radical intellectuals, expert ethnographers, and commissars who struggled to reform and conceptualize this such a lot "alien" in their topic populations.
Slezkine reconstructs from an enormous diversity of assets the successive legitimate regulations and winning attitudes towards the northern peoples, interweaving the resonant narratives of Russian and indigenous contemporaries with the extravagant photographs of renowned Russian fiction. As he examines the various ironies and ambivalences excited about successive Russian makes an attempt to beat northern—and for that reason their own—otherness, Slezkine explores the broader problems with ethnic identification, cultural swap, nationalist rhetoric, and not-so ecu colonialism.
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Additional resources for Arctic Mirrors: Russia and the Small Peoples of the North (Cornell Paperbacks)
Arctic Mirrors: Russia and the Small Peoples of the North (Cornell Paperbacks) by Yuri Slezkine