The Ethnography of Russia in Uncertain Times
The ethnographic study of Russia in 2023 is both necessary and impossible. Over a year and a half since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, North American and European anthropologists studying the peoples of the Russian Federation confront existential questions of method, ethics, and the field’s very survival: how is ethnography, a method premised on “being there,” possible when one cannot physically be there? This roundtable discussion gathers anthropologists of Russia and Siberia to broadly consider the concrete methodological challenges specific to ethnography amid the fog of war: what sort of ethnographic approaches are possible when scholars can no longer carry out in-country fieldwork? What ethical and safety challenges might these approaches entail? And crucially, how does the ethnographic study of the region survive and remain relevant during this time of upheaval?
Anya Bernstein, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
Craig Campbell, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin
Tatiana Chudakova, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Tufts University
Alex Oehler, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Regina