Guileless Indigenes and Hidden Passion:Descriptions of Ob-Ugrians and Samoyeds through the Centuries
Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia (Academia Scientiarum Fennica). 2014. 308 pp.
This monograph is aimed for discussing the views of the character of the Khanty, Mansi and Nenets by authors of different periods. Changes of general ideas about the inhabitants of the Arctic has had a remarkable, albeit often concealed, role in the development of the research on northern peoples. The author examines the image of northern peoples beginning from ancient Greek and Roman accounts of peoples, medieval sources, modern travel journals and ends up with the analyses of contemporary scholarly writings. The book is an attempt to explore the general background of ideas and the scientific methodology that frames changes in this knowledge about the peoples of the North. The theoretical framework of this monograph is related to the dialogue between modern theories of identity and the historical modes of description. Conceptualisation of northern peoples have been affected by period-specific dominant modes of thinking about culture and appropriate ways to present one’s viewpoints.
Art Leete is the Professor of Ethnology at the University of Tartu. He has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork among the Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and Komi people in Siberia and Russian North since the early 1990s. He has studied different aspects of historical-ethnographic descriptions of the Arctic and the twentieth century’s social, political and religious change among the northern peoples.
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