The present article, based on field evidence collected in summer 2017, deals with a very recent phenomenon – the Orthodox Old Believers in the Republic of Uganda in East Africa. This faith originated in Russia, but in Uganda all its adherents belong to the native ethnic groups and, except children, consciously converted to Old Believers from other religions in adulthood. We describe the short by now history and current state of the Old-Believer communities in Uganda and then concentrate on their members’ motivation for converting to Old Believers vs. knowledge of this religion. We show that their knowledge of the Old-Believer doctrine is poor and they usually cannot tell how it differs from that of other Christian denominations. What brings them to Old Believers is the search of the true faith associated with the original and hence the only correct way of performing Christian rites. In this we see intricate interplay of the features typical for authentic African cultures and acquired by them in the course of interaction with the wider world. Basing on our study of Old Believers in Uganda, we discuss in the closing section how globalist and anti-globalist trends manifest themselves in the spiritual (religious) context in contemporary Africa.
Western Siberia and the entire circumpolar region have become an obvious migrant destination for newcomers from the European part of the country, the national republics, and Southern Siberia. Unlike the rest of Siberia, the oil- and gas-rich North is still a migration magnet for the whole of the former Soviet Union. The paper is dedicated to research into the contemporary social environment of the village Yar-Sale in Yamal. The research is focused on the migration experience of the recent newcomers and their relations with the aboriginal inhabitants. Special attention is paid to such notions as ‘local’/ ‘newly arrived’, ‘kin’/ ‘stranger’. I assume that these boundaries are flexible. A newcomer could become a local, and outsiders could become kin. Ethnic background and duration of stay in the region are not always crucial for this transition.
The 1642 accounts of the Yukaghir amanats from Yana regarding a silver mountain at the eastern river Neroga and the 1644 accounts of the Yukaghir amanats from Indigirka and Kolyma mentioning a silver mountain at the eastern river Neloga (the latter were provided in response to Russian inquiries based on the testimonies of 1642) have been repeatedly discussed in the literature. While the accounts of 1644 were published, those of the Yana amanats were not, being known only through certain quotations and brief retellings. In both sets of accounts, researchers sought to see information about the same object, be it real or fictional. However, Alexey A. Burykin has recently convincingly demonstrated that the reports of 1644 about Neloga refer to a river in Chukotka which flows into the sea northeast of Anyuy in the Chaun Bay. Meanwhile, the examination of the accounts of 1642 unequivocally indicates that their Neroga is a river that flows into the Okhotsk Sea (as it has already been suggested). We put forward the following explanation of this discrepancy: the amanats, who were interrogated in 1644, in fact knew nothing about Neroga described by the Yana amanats in 1642, and thus told about the Chukotka river which they knew under a somewhat similar name, thinking (or pretending) that this is the same river they were asked about. Both rivers should thus be recognised as real but different objects.
Can a diary be a social chronicle and a scientific protocol at the same time? What does mixing of genres and text structures mean in this case? The article presents a diverse range of rural weather diaries written by fishermen, nurse, gardener, inspector, and museum specialist. Underlying all these documents is the idea of combining different types of data in one structure and on one page, which makes them a special type of hybrid document. The uniqueness of the situation consists in the fact that, combining data of different types (meteorological, financial, historical, biographical, and infrastructural) obtained from different sources and through different means (from temperature measurement tools to personal feelings, rumours, and the Internet), the authors of the diaries indirectly participate in the production of another type of knowledge, which is born at junctions, overlaps and parallels between phenomena and facts, assessments and sarcasm, poetic descriptions and chronicles of a natural disaster. Analysing the structure of the diaries, their language and main components, as well as the purposes for which they are kept, I reveal the nature of the processes occurring due to the very act of writing and show why the diary itself in some sense becomes a laboratory. What does this laboratory produce and can we apply to it the logic of description that Bruno Latour applies in describing the process of producing scientific articles? What happens to the text in the rural weather diary and is it in fact a text? This article attempts to answer these questions and to ‘turn over’ the logic of ‘translation’ proposed by the actor-network theory.
The article analyses institutional changes in economic research on the Soviet North in the mid-1950s due to which the concept of USSR northern territories itself changed. Through the case of Commission on Issues of the North (operating under control of Council for the Study of Productive Potential at the USSR Academy of Sciences) and the activity of its head Samuil V. Slavin, the article discusses the reasons for and mechanisms of changing the principles of development of the Soviet North in the aftermath of Stalin’s rule. The Commission became the main centre coordinating work of different scientific institutions, both in the centre and the periphery, as well as planning institutions and industrial agencies, on elaborating new schemes of development of the North without compulsory labour. Drawing on the publications by Samuil V. Slavin and previously unstudied archival materials, the article shows how, beginning from the mid-1950s, Slavin started to devise a new concept of the Soviet North, shifting emphases from industrial development to creation of comfortable living conditions for people in the North.
The article deals with the contemporary naming system and the variability of per- ceptions of the personal name among the Eskimo. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the social life of the name and to the characteristics of the ‘traditional’ naming in modern context. The set of Eskimos’ traditional perceptions of the personal name, the most important of them being the naming, continues to be relevant practically among all of the groups of this Arctic people on both continents, despite the long history of such processes as Christianiza- tion and the introduction of passports as well as incorporation of European names and the introduction of surnames. The name giving as a part of the ritual space is directly linked to Eskimos’ perceptions of immortality of the soul and interaction between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
The article explores the operation of an interdisciplinary laboratory which studies the issues of the body and corporeal representation on the Internet. The laboratory’s work resulted in the implementation of eight individual research projects on the body and the Internet, as well as in collective reflection on the laboratory team’s distance collaboration. The main focus was the form and methods of a collective research project studying bodies on the Internet by means of the Internet itself: studying the bodies of others, but also pondering one’s own experience. Following the work of Latour on scientific laboratory life, the authors set the task to consider the new emerging form, drawing on empirical material: distributed interdisciplinary research projects which are seeking the status of alternative laboratories of the twenty-first century. The use of the thematic field of the body and technologies of mediation of corporeal representation and bodily-sensor experiences pursues the goal of bringing the off- and online experience together, on the one hand, and gives the opportunity to see the distance emerging in online practices, on the other. The body acts not only as experience, here body, but also as form – individual, collective, multiple, distributed, and dynamic – while the need for technological mediation becomes a challenge to cooperation and collaboration, and, in a broader sense, to integration. New, ‘connected to’ the Internet reality of distributed research projects requires special skills and motivation of participants; without these interdisciplinarity stops being feasible. The increased complexity of the system, its accessibility to the participants and seeming proximity go along with the processes of atomization – ontological, social and physical – which can be felt at the level of bodily-sensor experience and which can be overcome.
The paper presents some major achievements in human ethology in Russia that became possible under the guidance of Professor Marina Lvovna Butovskaya. It describes research results produced in areas such as reconstruction of the early stages of human evolution, the study of mental norms and pathologies, non-verbal communication (spatial behaviour,gestures in communication) and ritualised behaviour, altruism and cooperation, empathy, aggressive and post-conflict behaviour, bullying, choosing marriage partner and human reproductive behaviour, parental favouritism, traditional cultures of East Africa, and socio- psychological adaptation of humans to new cultural environments.