By Yuri Slezkine
For over years the Russians questioned what sort of humans their Arctic and sub-Arctic topics have been. "They have mouths among their shoulders and eyes of their chests," said a fifteenth-century story. "They rove round, dwell in their personal unfastened will, and beat the Russian people," complained a seventeenth-century Cossack. "Their activities are particularly 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 labeled the circumpolar foragers as "authentic proletarians," have been many times wondered via 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 pace of the rising socialist society."
Whether defined as brutes, extraterrestrial beings, or endangered indigenous populations, the so-called small peoples of the north have always remained some extent of distinction for speculations on Russian id and a handy checking out floor for guidelines and photographs that grew out of those speculations. In Arctic Mirrors, a vividly rendered background of circumpolar peoples within the Russian empire and the Russian brain, Yuri Slezkine bargains the 1st in-depth interpretation of this dating. No different publication in any language hyperlinks the historical past of a colonized non-Russian humans to the total sweep of Russian highbrow and cultural background. bettering his account with classic prints and images, Slezkine reenacts the procession of Russian fur investors, missionaries, tsarist bureaucrats, radical intellectuals, specialist 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 resources the successive professional regulations and winning attitudes towards the northern peoples, interweaving the resonant narratives of Russian and indigenous contemporaries with the extravagant pictures 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 eu 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