Homo Imperii


Homo Imperii

A History of Physical Anthropology in Russia

Marina Mogilner

Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology Series

504 pages
38 photographs, 4 illustrations, 4 maps


July 2013


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eBook (EPUB)
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April 2020


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eBook (PDF)
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July 2013


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About the Book

It is widely assumed that the “nonclassical” nature of the Russian empire and its equally “nonclassical” modernity made Russian intellectuals immune to the racial obsessions of Western Europe and the United States. Homo Imperii corrects this perception by offering the first scholarly history of racial science in prerevolutionary Russia and the early Soviet Union. Marina Mogilner places this story in the context of imperial self-modernization, political and cultural debates of the epoch, different reformist and revolutionary trends, and the growing challenge of modern nationalism. By focusing on the competing centers of race science in different cities and regions of the empire, Homo Imperii introduces to English-language scholars the institutional nexus of racial science in Russia that exhibits the influence of imperial strategic relativism.

Reminiscent of the work of anthropologists of empire such as Ann Stoler and Benedict Anderson, Homo Imperii reveals the complex imperial dynamics of Russian physical anthropology and contributes an important comparative perspective from which to understand the emergence of racial science in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe and America.

Author Bio

Marina Mogilner is the academic director at the Center for the Studies of Nationalism and Empire in Kazan, Russia, and coeditor of the international quarterly Ab Imperio. She is the author of several books, chapters, and articles on late imperial history in Russia.


"This is a brave, well-written, and scholarly excavation of an important and contested episode in the history of Russian thought that highlights and begins to challenge some of the distortions of the intervening Soviet and post-socialist ideology and historiography."—Dominic Martin, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Science of Imperial Modernity

Part 1. Paradoxes of Institutionalization
1. Academic Genealogy and Social Contexts of the “Atypical Science”
2. Anthropology as a “Regular Science”: Kafedra
3. Anthropology as a Network Science: Society

Part 2. The Liberal Anthropology of Imperial Diversity: Apolitical Politics
4. Aleksei Ivanovskii’s Anthropological Classification of the Family of “Racial Relatives”
5. “Russians” in the Language of Liberal Anthropology
6. Dmitrii Anuchin’s Liberal Anthropology

Part 3. Anthropology of Russian Imperial Nationalism
7. Ivan Sikorsky and His “Imperial Situation”
8. Academic Racism and “Russian National Science”

Part 4. Anthropology of Russian Multinationalism
9. The Space between “Empire” and “Nation”
10. “Jewish Physiognomy,” the “Jewish Question,” and Russian Race Science between Inclusion and Exclusion
11. A “Dysfunctional” Colonial Anthropology of Imperial Brains

Part 5. Russian Military Anthropology: From Army-as-Empire to Army-as-Nation
12. Military Mobilization of Diversity Studies
13. The Imperial Army through National Lenses
14. Nation Instead of Empire

Part 6. Race and Social Imagination
15. The Discovery of Population Politics and Sociobiological Discourses in Russia
16. Meticization as Modernization, or the Sociobiological Utopias of Ivan Ivanovich Pantiukhov
17. The Criminal Anthropology of Imperial Society
Conclusion: Did Russian Physical Anthropology Become Soviet?



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