View Profile 
Alexander D. King <email@example.com>
University of Aberdeen
Creativity in Koryak Culture
This work is set in the Koryak Autonomous Okrug (Kamchatka peninsula) of the Russian Federation and focuses on changing constructions of indigenous cultural identity. Dr. King analyzes the way people talk about native culture and the models of culture that result from these discourses. Soviet ethnographic theory has shaped the way people in Kamchatka think about culture in the abstract and the way they talk about traditions and cultural difference. Indigenous people, however, also have ways of talking about culture that are fundamentally different from Soviet ethnographic theories of ethnic groups. Specific institutions (schools, dance ensembles, museums) were examined in detail for the way they generate discourse on language and culture, highlighting the differences between indigenous and non-indigenous discourses. Despite overt protestations against nationalism, the policies of native-language education and native cultural revival in the arts and schools demonstrate a logic of the nationalising state. However, a fascinating and dynamic creativity is at work in people's lives as they adapt native traditional arts to the stage or publication. He is writing to extend our theoretical frameworks for understanding the postsocialist Russian North, drawing on models of 'postcoloniality' as put forward by scholars of imperial systems elsewhere in the world.
Oral Narratives and Myths of Koryaks and Chukchi
In the summer of 2001 Dr. King returned to Kamchatka after a three-year absence through support by the National Endowment for the Humanities, USA and Chico State University, CA. He continued transcription and translation work on 100-year-old recordings made in a dialect of Koryak now spoken by very few people. These recordings consisted of five narratives on six cylinders (one narrative in two parts). He is interested both in the texts as data for descriptive linguistics (mostly grammatical), and as examples of oral narratives. The accepted position on oral narratives among linguistic anthropologists is that these are poetic texts, organized by lines. How theselines are defined, and whether or not one can identify relations among lines creating larger units is open to some dispute. These recordings are exceptional in that they provide me with all the acoustic data (pause, inflection, intonation) rarely available from this time period.
Indigenous Religion and Ritual in Kamchatka
Dr. King is working on a 30-minute video presentation of a hunting ritual based on three events he attended in 1997. He has also published on the dark side of shamanic knowledge.
Reindeer Herding in NE Asia
Koryak people living in reindeer-herding communties in northern Kamchatka insisted that Dr. King experience reindeer herding first-hand, if he was to understand anything about their lives. This initial experience has led to much data on the subject. He is particularly interested in reindeer herding as a way of knowing the landscape. Reindeer continue to provide the most salient symbols of native identity and symbols of the Koryak Autonomous Okrug as a political entity, even though reindeer herding has become economically insignificant compared with mining gold and platinum and with fishing.
History of Jesup North Pacific Expedition
Dr. King collaborated with his friend and colleauge Valentina Romanovna Dedyk in archival research in St. Petersburg in November 2002. The Institute of Oriental Studies hold many of the unpublished papers of Vladimir Jochelson and Dima Brodsky, who were key participants of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition in Kamchatka in 1900-1901. Brodsky's travel diaries remain intact, and they are working on publishing this fascinating material covering the couples travels during research in the Jesup Expedition, and in subsequent expeditions in southern Kamchatka and the Aleutian Islands.
|Address:||Social Sciences- Anthropology
Aberdeen, AB24 3QY
|List Affiliations:||Advisory Board Member for H-Soyuz
Reviewer for H-Soyuz
|Reviews:||On the Importance of (Almost) Speaking Like a Ukrainian
2000 Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Virginia
1996 M. A., Anthropology, University of Virginia
1991 B. A., Anthropology, Reed College, Portland, Oregon
2003-Pres. Lecturer of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
2001-02 Research Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
2000-02 Assistant Professor, California State University, Chico, USA
1991-93 Instructor, EFL, Volkshochschule Lichtenberg-Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Chapters in Books
'Authenticity and Real Cultural Properties in the Russian Far East', in E. Kasten (ed), Properties of Culture, Culture as Property: Pathways to Reform in Post-Soviet Siberia (Berlin : Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2004), pp 51-65.
'Raven Tales from kamchatka', in B. Swann (ed), Voices from the Four Directions (Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2004), pp 3-24.
'Social Security in Kamchatka: Rural and Urban Comparisons', in C. Hann, The "Property Relations Group" (ed), The Postsocialist Agrarian Question (Mnster : Litt-Verlag, 2004), pp 391-418.
'Reindeer Herders’ Culturescapes in the Koryak Autonomous Okrug', in E. Kasten (ed), People and Land in the Russian North (Seattle : University of Washington Press, 2002), pp 63-80.
(with D. Kaneff ) 'Owning Culture', Focaal, European Journal of Anthropology, 44 (2004) : 3-19.
'Without Deer There is No Culture, Nothing', Anthropology and Humanism, 27(2) (2002) : 133-164.
'Soul Suckers: Vampiric Shamans in Northern Kamchatka, Russia', Anthropology of Consciousness, 10(4) (1999) : 74-85.