Long Night at the Vepsian Museum: The Forest Folk of Northern Russia and the Struggle for Cultural Survival
This book takes readers to the village of Sheltozero in northern Russia. It highlights a tiny community of indigenous people called Veps, known colloquially as "the forest folk" for their intense closeness and affiliation with the forests in their ancestral territories. Davidov uses a tour of the local museum to introduce a cast of human and non-human characters from traditional Vepsian culture, while journeying through various eras under Russian, Finnish, Soviet, and post-Soviet rule. In the process, she explores how contemporary political struggles mesh with traditional beliefs, illustrating how Veps make meaning of their history and unfolding future.
A documentary entitled Museum Night is available for instructors who wish to incorporate it into their teaching.
- Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
- Division: Higher Education
- World Rights
- Page Count: 160 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.3in x 9.0in
Reviews"Davidov uses a small Vepsian museum on a northern Russian lake as a compelling site for reflections on indigeneity, statecraft, and history. Highly recommended!"
Bruce Grant, New York University
"In clear and compelling prose, Davidov weaves together experiences of past and present, cosmology and politics, and nature and culture among 'the forest folk' of northern Russia. The result is at once a magnificent account of cultural survival in and after the Soviet Union, and a highly innovative contribution to scholarship about global indigeneity in the twenty-first century."
Douglas Rogers, Yale University
"This important contribution to anthropology, indigenous studies, and museology offers a rich ethnographic and historical account of a twenty-first century Vepsy community. Beginning and ending in the 'living history museum' in which Veps and visitors engage with this community's complex past, it tells a compelling story of a people contending with the legacy of others' imaginings alongside the remembered and lived realities of who they are."
Andrew Walsh, Western University
Author InformationVeronica Davidov is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Monmouth University. She is the suthor of Ecotourism and Cultural Production: An Anthropology of Indigenous Spaces in Ecuador (2013).
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
1. History and Memory
2. Vepsian Cosmologies
3. Spruce Eyelashes and Blue Eyes of Lakes
4. The Bad Masters
5. The Long Night of Museums
Subjects and Courses