Sergei A. Kan

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

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. 2016. (Co-authored with Dmitry Arzyutov) Bernhard J. Stern (1894-1960) and the Saga of Publishing Lewis Henry Morgan's Collected Works in pre-World War II Soviet Russia. PP. 149-220 In Histories of Anthropology Annual, vol. 10. Ed. by Regna Darnell and Frederick Gleach. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 2016

Article 2016. To Study Our Past, Make Sense of Our Present and Develop Our National Consciousness: Lev Shternberg’s Comprehensive Program for Jewish Ethnography in Soviet Russia.  Pp. 64-84 In Going to the People: Jews and the Ethnographic Impulse.  Ed. by Dov-Ber Kerler and Jeffrey Veidlinger.  Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 

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 Society for Ethnohistory, Nashville, TN, 2016

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, 2015, 2013

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

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

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.