Andrei Znamenski

Andrei Znamenski


103 Mitchell
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Ph.D., History, University of Toledo, 1997

Cand. Sc., History, St. Petersburg Herzen Pedagogical University, Russia, 1989

Fields of interest

Russia/Europe, Eurasia, Religion, Russia in Northern Asia and Alaska, Indigenous People of Siberia and Alaska, Fourth World, Nationalism, Western Esotericism, Shamanism

My major research concerns Russian eastern borderlands and indigenous peoples in Siberia and Alaska. I have published a number of works that discuss the status of native Siberians and Alaskans in the nineteenth-century Russian Empire and their religious encounters with Christian missionaries. I am also interested in Soviet nationalities polices. Another theme that has attracted me lately is the history of Western Esotericism and neo-primitivism. My most recent book, The Beauty of the Primitive, which deals with the cultural history of shamanism, reflects this new interest. I also serve on the editorial advisory board of Alaska History journal.

Current research projects

People of Oirot: Prophetic Religion and Identity in Inner Asia, 1880s-1920s. I contemplate this as a book project that will examine the links between religious prophesy and ethnicity among the Altaians (Oirot), a group of Turkic-speaking nomadic tribes in southern Siberia/Inner Asia , whose lands became the object of Russian colonization in the 1880s. The volume will be focused on Ak Jang ("White/Milk Faith"), an ethno-religious revitalization movement that incorporated Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Russian Orthodoxy in a peculiar spiritual blend that later served as a foundation for the Altaian nationalism in the late Russian Empire and early Soviet Russia.

"Patriot Games: Alaska in Modern Russian Nationalist Rhetoric." This paper project explores the cause of a keen attention of current Russian patriot writers and activists to the history of Alaska, which was a Russian colony until 1867.

Courses taught

World Civilizations before 1500s, World Civilizations after 1500s, Modern Europe after 1500s, Russia before 1917, Russia/Soviet Union after 1917, Nationalism since 1780s.

Representative publications

  • Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia. Quest Books, 2011.
  • The Beauty of the Primitive: Indigenous Shamanism and Western Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • "Towards the 'Ethic of Empire' on the Siberian Borderland: The Peculiar Case of the 'Rock People,' 1791-1878," 106-127. In Nicholas Breyfogle, Abby Schrader, and Willard Sunderland (eds.) Peopling the Russian Periphery: Borderland Colonization in Eurasian History. London and New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2007.
  • "Power of Myth: Popular Ethnonationalism and Nationality Building in Mountain Altai, 1904-1922." Acta Slavica Iaponica 22 (2005): 25-52.
  • Shamanism in Siberia: Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality. Dordrecht (The Netherlands): Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003.
  • Shamanism and Christianity: Native Encounters with Russian Orthodox Missions in Siberia and Alaska, 1820-1917. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • "'Vague Sense of Belonging to the Russian Empire': Reindeer Chukchi's Status in Nineteenth-Century Northeastern Siberia." Arctic Anthropology 36 (1999): 19-36.
  • "In Search of the Russian Idea: Igor Shafarevich's Traditional Orthodoxy." The European Studies Journal 13 (1996): 33-47.