Samoyedic Diary: Early Years of Visual Anthropology in the Soviet Arctic

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The article describes Georgii and Ekaterina Prokofievs’ expedition to the Bol’shezemel’skie Nenets and their experience of filming documentary chronicles. Prokofievs’ records are a unique piece of the visual anthropology of the Samoyedic peoples. Referring to the available archival documents, it is assumed that the chronicles were filmed at the expense of the cooperation agreement signed by Franz Boas and Vladimir Bogoras in New York in 1928. The article offers a reconstruction of Prokofiev’s fieldwork experience and his accounts on the early history of collectivization. In this regard, the cinematic chronicles and a collection of photos taken in the field are treated as a visual conceptualization. The available studies of the visual anthropology in the USSR suggest that the documentary chronicles by the Prokofievs filmed in 1929-1930 are the first cinematic records produced by ethnographers in the Soviet Arctic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-359
Number of pages29
JournalVisual Anthropology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016


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