Tomsk State University
Department of History

634051 Russia, Tomsk, 34, Lenin Ave., room 30

Tel.: 007 3822 529 796

‘Theory and methodology of contemporary social anthropology in individual research projects’, a series of seminars by Nikolay Ssorin-Chaikov

The seminars have started by the lecturer of Cambridge University Nikolay Ssorin-Chaikov since the end of December 2013. The reason for organizing such a discussion platform is to get LSAR research fellows better acquainted with modern international strategies and tactics in producing research publications. Thanks to modern communication technologies at our disposal, we successfully established and continue to hold online seminar meetings with Nikolay Ssorin-Chaikov. Along with LSAR research staff members other researchers, interested in methodological issues, take part in the seminar as well.

Over half a year, there have been 11 seminar meetings held. Their specifics are in the close intertwining and interconnection of the two main lines of work: the theoretical and methodological one, and the specific historical one. Addressing fundamental foreign and Russian research publications on anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, and political science helped participants get generally better oriented in the contemporary methodological space of social and humanities sciences and also to understand where they themselves stand in terms of research methodology and define their own research strategies based on research interests they have. 

To summarize the results of the seminars run so far, here are some opinions expressed by the participants:

‘The seminars by Ssorin-Chaikov constitute a great platform for exchanging opinions, stimulating intellectual growth, specifying and sharpening one’s own ideas. As there are no such seminars and discussions held at university departments, this is a unique chance and I am glad to take it. Besides, Nikolay, in essence, acts as a tutor and to watch him do that equates to advanced training for us as educators. At last, it is about getting acquainted with literature I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise. All this is, on the one hand, useful and on the other, absolutely interesting’. Dmitriy Konkov, Cand.Sc. (History).

‘I can point out the following positive things about Nikolay’s seminars: it is the methods of holding the seminars can be used for teaching students as well; it is the way one structures the material when discussing somebody’s draft paper which is important for everyone regardless of their research; and it is the learning about new literature and discussion thereof’. Evgeniy Lukov, Cand.Sc. (History).

‘The participation in the seminars gave good impetus to further study some fundamental works by foreign and Russian philosophers, sociologists, researchers in political science and cultural studies and it provided the opportunity to broaden our perception of the theoretical and methodological dimension of specific historical studies. The group discussions of general theoretical issues allowed us to set new approaches to the analysis and comprehension of source materials as well as to formulate a number of hypotheses concerning the ‘introduction’ of local historical facts and stories to the broader context of historical processes’. Olga Kharus, Dr.Sc. (History).

‘The participation in the seminars, the group discussion of research papers and certain research lines allow to look at subjects in question from a different perspective and in detail however insignificant and small the details may seem at first, in the course of discussions they come to the fore. It is very important that methodological issues and new publications are being discussed as all we are preoccupied with different areas of research and yet we are all immersed in the anthropological discourse and there is a chance there to learn more about the fellows’ logics of structuring the material, about the advantages and disadvantages of their approaches’. Elena Khakhalkina, Cand.Sc. (History).

The project "Man in a Changing World. Identity and Social Adaptation: Past and Present" is funded by the Russian Government
(grant #14.В25.31.0009)
© Laboratory for Social and Anthropoligical Research, 2013

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