Sergei A. Kan

Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies
Faculty Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

As a scholar of Native American ethnology and ethnohistory, I have been interested in ways in which Alaska Native (particularly Tlingit) cultures have changed over time while preserving some of their core values and maintaining a distinct indigenous identity.  I have also researched the history of American and Russian anthropology, particularly the interaction between Boasian and Russian anthropology from the early 1900s through the 1940s.  Currently I am preparing for publication an annotated book of photographs taken in Sitka, Alaska by Elbridge W. Merrill(1897-1929). I have also begun a large project on the history and culture of the Creole (Russian-Native) community of Sitka, Alaska. In addition I have recently joined a large multi-volume project dedicated to producing an annotated multi-volume edition of the professional correspondence of Franz Boas, the "father" of American anthropology; as part of an internation editorial team, I am responsible for editing the volume dealing with Boas' correspondence with his Russian colleagues. 

646-2550 646-2481
315 Silsby, Anthropology; 201 Sherman House, NAS
HB 6047
Department(s): 
Anthropology
Native American Studies
Russian
Education: 
Moscow State University
B.A. Boston University
M.A. University of Chicago
Ph.D. University of Chicago

Selected Publications

Book  Sharing Our Knowledge: the Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbors. University of Nebraska Press. 2015.

http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Sharing-Our-Knowledge,675970.aspx

Book  Vincent Soboleff: A Russian-American Photographer in Tlingit Country. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 2013.

The 2015 Western History Association Joan Patterson Kerr Award for the best illustrated book on the American West.

http://www.oupress.com/ECommerce/Book/Detail/1738/a%20russian%20american...

Book  Symbolic Immortality: the Tlingit Potlatch of the Nineteenth Century.   Second Edition (Revised and expanded).  University of Washington Press. 2015.

[1990 Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award].

Book  Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity through Two Centuries. University of Washington Press.  1999.

http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/KANMEM.html

Edited Volume and Journal  A collection of paper entitled “Individuals and Groups of Mixed Russian-Native     Parentage in Siberia, Russian America, and Alaska.” Ethnohistory 60 (3).  2013.

Edited Volume and Journal  Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, and Representations. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.  (Co-edited with Pauline Turner Strong).  2006.

Book  Lev Shternberg, Anthropologist, Russian Socialist, Jewish Activist.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2009.

http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Lev-Shternberg,673329.aspx

 

Edited Volume and Journal  Strangers to Relatives: The Adoption and Naming of Anthropologists in Native North America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2001.

Article  2015.  The Falling Out Between Alexander Goldenweiser and Robert Lowie: Two Prsonalities, Two VIsions of Anthropology.  Pp. 1-31 In  From Corridor Talk to Culture History. History of Anthropology Annual, vol. 9.  Ed. by Regna Darnell and Frederick Gleach.

University of Washington Press.

Article  2013. Sergei Ionovich Kostromitinov (1854-1915) or "Colonel George Kostrometinoff": from a Creole Teenager to the Number One Russian-American Citizen of Sitka.  Ethnohistory 60(3): 385-402.

Article   2009  Alexander Goldenweiser’s Politics.  Pp. 182-199 In Histories of Anthropology Annual.  Vol. 5.  Ed. by Regna Darnell and Frederick Gleach.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.                                       

Article   2008  Evolutionism and Historical Particularism at the St. Petersburg Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.  Museum Anthropology 31(1): 28-46.

Article  2006  “My Old Friend in a Dead-end of Skepticism and Empiricism”: Boas, Bogoras, and the Politics of Soviet Anthropology of the late 1920s-early 1930s.  Pp. 32-68 In Histories of Anthropology Annual.  Vol. 2.  Ed. by Regna Darnell and Frederick Gleach.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 

Article  2006 Events and Nonevents on the Tlingit/Russian/American Colonial Frontier, 1802-1879. Pp. 310-327 In Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, and Representations.  Sergei Kan and Pauline Turner Strong, eds.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 

Article  2004 It's Only Half a Mile from Savagery to Civilization: American Tourists and Southeastern Alaska Natives in the Late Nineteenth Century. Pp. 201-220 In Coming to Shore: Northwest Coast Ethnology, Traditions and Visions.  Marie Mauzé, Michael Harkin, and Sergei Kan, eds.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 

Article  2001 Friendship, Family, and Fieldwork: One Anthropologist's Adoption by Two Tlingit Families.  Pp. 185-217 In Strangers to Relatives: The Adoption and Naming of Anthropologists in Native North America.  Sergei Kan, ed.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Article  1996 Clan Mothers and Godmothers: Tlingit Women and Russian Orthodox Christianity, 1840-1940.  Native American Women's Responses to Christianity.  Special Issue of Ethnohistory, vol. 43(4): 613-641.  Ed. by Michael Harkin and Sergei Kan.

Article  1991 Shamanism and Christianity: Modern-day Tlingit Elders Look at the Past.  Ethnohistory 38 (4): 363-387

Article  1989 Cohorts, Generations, and Their Culture: the Tlingit Potlatch in the 1980s.  Anthropos 84:405-422.

Article  1987 Memory Eternal:  Russian Orthodoxy and the Tlingit Mortuary Complex.  Arctic Anthropology  24 (1):32-55. 

Article  1986 The Nineteenth-century Tlingit Potlatch: a New Perspective.  American Ethnologist  13 (2):191-212.  [American Society for Ethnohistory 1987 Robert F. Heizer Prize for the Best Article in the Field]. 

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Speaking engagements

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, 2014

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, 2013

International Conference “Going to the People: Jews and the Ethnographic Impulse.” Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 2013

Fifth International Conference on Russian America,  Mariehamn, Finland, 2012

Tlingit Clan Conferences;  Sitka, Alaska, 2012; Juneau, Alaska, 2013

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, 2012

Annual Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Indianapolis, IN, 2014

Works in progress

A Multi-Ethnic Alaska Town: Sitka as Depicted by Elbridge W. Merrill's Photographs (1890s-1920s) (book)

Mortuary Rites, Memory, and Authority/Agency: Anthropology of Death in the Early twenty-First Century.    A Collection of Essays submitted for review to the Anthropoiogy of Religion series, Palgrave McMillan in August 2015.

Co-edited with Sebastien P. Boret and Susan O. Long.

Alexander A. Goldenweiser: a Rebellious Boasian Anthropologist.  (An intellectual biography of one of the most brilliant yet underappreciated American anthropologists of the 1910s-1930s.