Goal of research
The International Centre of Anthropology was founded in February 2018 as a research unitwithin the School of History, Faculty of Humanities, National Research University Higher School ofEconomics. The Centre studies social institutions, forms of political organization and cultures ofpeoples of the past and present in historical dynamics, in the context of local and globalsociocultural history. At the current stage of the Centre's activities, the academic work of its facultycomplies with two main areas that have a profound inner content and conceptual-methodologicalconnection for all their autonomy:
Historical Anthropology of Africa;
Diverse Directions of Social Evolution.
Historical Anthropology of Africa (Including the African Diaspora)
Supervisors – Dmitri M. Bondarenko and Marina L. Butovskaya
The aim of the project area is to determine how the historical past – both real facts andcultural memory of it – affect the current state of societies and cultures of post-colonial countries insub-Saharan Africa and African diaspora communities. The particular aspects of the problematiqueare: the influence of historical memory on modern socio-cultural processes in Africa (in particular,on the formation of postcolonial nations); the role of historical and cultural factors in determiningthe nature of relations within African diasporas and between migrants from African countries andhost societies in Africa itself, in Western and Eastern Europe (including Russia), North America, theCaribbean and Australia; the identification and analysis of a wide range of factors (beginning withbiological factors) that determine the formation of socio-cultural attitudes of the inhabitants ofmodern African countries and the directions for the transformation of the post-colonial sub-SaharanAfrican societies.
Diverse Directions of Social Evolution
Supervisors – Dmitri M. Bondarenko and Dmitri D. Beliaev
The goal of the project area is to form a holistic concept of non-linear social evolution andthe diversity of forms of socio-political organization of societies of the same level of socio-culturalcomplexity. In 2019 researchers were focusing on two key aspects of this field. The first aspect isthe basic principles of organization of societies (heterarchic and homoarchic) and variations of theirhistorical realization, evolution of their institutions, including formation and functioning ofethnosocial, ethnocultural, ethnopolitical non-state and early state communities, their self andothers’ identifications in connection with ethnic interactions; the reflection of these processes in historical memory and tradition; interethnic exchange of cultural elements and patterns and theirevolution. The second aspect is related to the forms and phenomena of sociocultural and geopoliticalorganization of pre-industrial societies.
Methodology of research is based on the achievements of both history and anthropology.General anthropological methods of field research (participant observation, formal and informal, indepthinterviews, questionnaires) were used by stuff members participated in the expeditions andfield studies (Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Anastasia A. Banshchikova, Marina L. Butovskaya, Alina O.Lapushkina, Anastasia A. Banshchikova, Oxana V. Ivanchenko, Daria A. Zelenova, Albert I.Davletshin). While dealing with historical data there were used general historical methods, classiccomparative method and structural analysis (by all authors), event-analyses (Sergey V.Kostelyanets), various methods of textual analysis (Alexey S. Shchavelev) and analysis of oraltradition (Alexander A. Nemirovskiy), the combination of general historical, archaeological,epigraphic and linguistic methods (Dmitri D. Beliaev, Albert I. Davletshin, Alexey S. Shchavelev,Alexander A. Nemirovskiy).
Empirical base of research
Empirical base of the research is very broad and diverse. Studies are carried out on the basisof a large number of both published and unpublished sources with the use of the widest range ofsupporting literature in all major languages of academic communication. In some works visualmaterials were used in addition to written sources: elements of the urban space design in theresearch on social advertising, photographs of museum collections in the research on historicalmemory and mechanisms of its transmission. A special place among the sources is occupied by theethnographic and archaeological materials collected by the staff of the Centre.
For each of the subtopics of the Centre's researches there is a unique source base besides the general written materials, ethnographic articles etc. For the subtopic "Historical Anthropology of Africa" socio-anthropological field studies have a special place. Thus, in 2019 Marina L. Butovskaya, Anastasia A. Banshchikova and Oхana V. Ivanchenko carried out field researches in Tanzania, Daria A. Zelenova – in South Africa. Three types of sources were used for the subtopic "Diverse Directions of Social Evolution": historical, archaeological and ethnographic through a wide range of societies, including unpublished documents from RSAAD, published and unpublished archival materials on Yukagir and East Siberian ethnography and folklore, multilingual materials of Egyptian historical traditions of the 2nd millennium BC – I millennium AD, Mesoamerican and Pacific monuments, including the results of field research of relevant authors, Middle Eastern sources, archaeological and written monuments of early medieval Europe and Western Asia, including digitized Greek and Latin scripts, manuscript collections of the State Historical Museum and the Russian State Library, media materials and official websites of African states, as well as documents and analytical materials of the international and regional organizations.
Results of research
Within the framework of the project various components of nonlinear social evolution were studied. While working on subtopic "Historical Anthropology of Africa" number of studies was conducted dealing with: the impact of the historical past on the later and present state of societies of postcolonial Africa south of the Sahara and their diasporas (Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Marina L. Butovskaya, Anastasia A. Banshchikova, Oxana V. Ivanchenko, Daria A. Zelenova, Sergey V. Kostelyanets); the phenomena of group solidarity and its implementation by means of state policy, social advertising and non-governmental self-organization (Alina O. Lapushkina, Marina L.Butovskaya, Anastasia A. Banshchikova, Daria A. Zelenova); physical anthropology of East Africa (Marina L. Butovskaya); anthropology of African ethno-political processes, especially conflicts and violence, including terrorism (Sergey V. Kostelyanets). While working on subtopic "Diversity of social evolution directions" the following themes were studied: the constitution and construction of ethnosocial, ethnocultural, ethnopolitical non-state and early state communities, their territory, selfand other-identification, including connection with migrations and ethnic interactions; the reflections of these processes in historical memory; interethnic exchange of cultural elements, their evolution within society (Dmitri D. Beliaev, Albert I. Davletshin; Alexander A. Nemirovskiy); forms and phenomena of sociocultural and geopolitical organization of pre-industrial societies (Alexey S. Shchavelev; Albert I. Davletshin).
In all these areas new scientific results were obtained, presented in 49 published works and 70 presentations at the conferences and other academic meetings.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
Results of research implemented in the first place in Centre’s educational activity within National Research University Higher School of Economics and other universities. The Centre faculty members teach general anthropology courses as part of basic curriculum of educational programs for bachelor and master's in various fields and in the framework of university "minors" (Physical Anthropology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Political Anthropology, Historical Anthropology), as well as more specialized courses, such as Ethnoconflictology (Cultural Anthropology of Conflict).