Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Samovars, Vodka, and Axes: Traditional Russian Behaviors in an Isolated New World
by Dilliplane, Timothy L., Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2018, 360; 13804862
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focuses on the relatively little-known and highly remote 18th and 19th century Russian colonies established in North America, attempts to gain a clearer vision of mostly undefined daily lifeways in the settlements via a search for traditional Russian behaviors, and weighs the impact of cultural isolation on those behaviors. In so doing, lessons-learned are considered as they apply to the enhancement of social justice in the isolated communities of the future, whether they be on this planet or beyond the gravitational pull of Earth.

Drawing upon a previously researched inventory of 18th and 19th century traditional Russian behaviors (which serves as a primary database for the study), two selected settlements are examined for possible traditional behavioral characteristics for Russian America as a whole. One of these is Novo-Arkhangel'sk (present-day Sitka, Alaska)—the colonial capital and Russian America's primary seaport—and the other is Kolmakovsky Redoubt, a small trading post located in the interior of Southwestern Alaska. The cultural isolation of each colony is made clear, as is the fact that Kolmakovsky Redoubt has been viewed as perhaps the most isolated community in all of Russia's North American possessions.

The research for this study has led to exciting results. A high percentage of traditional Russian behaviors found at each of the two sites was revealed to be in unmodified form, despite the settlements' cultural isolation from the motherland and resulting potential for acculturative activity. Specifically, out of 45 traditional behaviors identified for Novo-Arkhangel'sk, 41, or 91%, were seen to be unmodified; of the 25 traditional behaviors uncovered at Kolmakovsky Redoubt, 23, or 92%, were also determined to be unmodified. These high percentages are perhaps all the more surprising when one considers the potential of acculturative pressures surrounding the two Russian enclaves and emanating from indigenous Native societies.

The bottom line is that this study has opened a view of a part of Russian America not previously available, and endorses the use of the data retrieved for planning future isolated communities characterized by social justice-friendly environments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Piep, Karsten H.
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 80/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, American history, Russian history
Keywords: Cultural Isolation, Future Social Justice, Kolmakovsky Redoubt, Novo-Arkhangel'sk, Russian America, Traditional Behaviors
Publication Number: 13804862
ISBN: 978-0-438-73171-4
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