Ethnography, Institute of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ethnography, Institute of


(full name, N. N. Miklu-kho-Maklai Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR [AN SSSR]), the central scientific institution for ethnography in the USSR. In addition to coordinating the work of all local ethnographic institutes, it carries on research in ethnography, ethnic anthropology, and folklore studies.

The earliest forerunner of the Institute of Ethnography was the Kunstkamera, established in St. Petersburg in 1714. The Kunstkamera’s museums of ethnography and anatomy were made independent in 1836 and were joined to form the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (MAE) in 1878. In 1917 the Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of Russia and Adjacent Countries was organized under the AN SSSR; in 1930 the Institute for the Study of the Peoples of the USSR (IPIN) was formed from the commission. In 1933 the Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Ethnography (IAAE) was established, and the MAE and IPIN were made part of it.

In 1937 the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the AN SSSR was created from, and made independent of, the IAAE, which was then reorganized and renamed the Institute of Ethnography of the AN SSSR. The Institute of Ethnography was located in Leningrad until 1943, when its main offices were moved to Moscow; a division that includes the MAE has been maintained, however, in Leningrad.

The Institute of Ethnography has (1977) a department of general problems, with a laboratory of ethnic statistics and cartography and sectors for the history of primitive society and the study of foreign ethnography, and a department of anthropology, with a laboratory of ethnic anthropology and paleoanthropology and a laboratory for plastic anthropological reconstruction. The institute has sectors for the study of various peoples, including a sector for the East Slavs and a sector for the peoples of the Baltic region, the Volga Region, and the European North; each of the following regions is dealt with by a separate sector: Siberia, Middle Asia and Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, non-Soviet Europe, Africa, Australia and Oceania, and the Americas. There are also sectors of ethnosociology and museum science. The Khorezm Archaeological and Ethnographic Expedition constitutes a separate part of the institute.

The institute’s research deals primarily with the following: processes of change in the culture and everyday life of the peoples of the USSR and foreign countries, world ethnic processes, the origin of man and the origin and pattern of settlement of the races of man, and the history of primitive society. Expeditions are sent into the field to collect ethnographic and anthropological material. The institute publishes the journal Sovetskaia etnografiia.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.