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Anatoly Khazanov

Outstanding Contributor to the Study of Nomadic Pastoral Societies, Past and Present
Recipient of the IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples Lifetime Achievement Award

By: Kathleen A. Galvin, Chair, Awards Committee

Anatoly Khazanov is well known as one of the most outstanding scholars of nomadic pastoral societies in the world. This became clear with the publication of his brilliant cross-cultural study, Nomads and the Outside World (1984 and republished by Wisconsin in 1994 with a new introduction and a larger bibliography). It was the publication of this book in English that revealed Khazanov’s work and thinking to the Western world. Moreover, this book presented the works of many Russian and Asian scholars, amplifying our understanding of Central Asian, Siberian, and historical populations hitherto hidden to the West. This book has made a profound contribution to international Anthropology and Ethnology. It remains a remarkable synthesis that stands today as perhaps the most cited book in the field. It removed pastoral nomads from an isolated context and demonstrated that many significant differences found among them are the result of interaction with their neighbors over time and not just the products of internal development. No one knows the literature of this diverse field as well as Khazanov or uses it with such care.

In addition to the Nomads book, Dr. Khazanov is the author of over fifteen other books and edited volumes, including The Social History of Scythians (1975), and has published over 125 journal articles and chapters on subjects ranging from ancient states in Central Asia, topics of ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in the historical and modern era, and problems of development and change among nomadic pastoralists today.

More recently he has conducted ethnographic work in Central Eurasia on the problems faced by pastoral people with decollectivization. He has been a key contributor in organizing significant conferences about nomadic pastoral societies that have resulted in two important edited books: Changing Nomads in a Changing World (co-edited with Joseph Giant, 1998) and Nomads in the Sedentary World (co-edited with Andre Wink, 2000). His focus has always extended beyond the ethnographic to incorporate history and archaeology including a seminal volume on the origins of pastoralism (Pastoralism in the Levant: Archaeological Materials in Anthropological Perspectives,(co-edited with Ofer Bar-Josef, 1992).

Professor Khazanov began his career as an archeologist concerned with the history and social organization of Scythians, a population of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who occupied and ruled southern Russia and Ukraine during the period of classical antiquity (600 BCE- 300 AD ). Dr. Khazanov was born in Moscow, attended Moscow State University where he received a B.A. in 1960 and an M.A. in 1966, and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1976 from the USSR Academy of Sciences. From 1960-1985, Dr. Khazanov served as Junior, then Senior, Scholar at the Institute of Ethnography, Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Khazanov shifted his focus to social anthropology, looking in particular at the relation of pastoral nomads and state level societies. He has argued that pastoral nomads were never fully autonomous but dependent on economic and political ties and networks with the sedentary world from ancient to modern times, a theme he substantively articulates in Nomads and the Outside World.

From 1985-1990, he was Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and since 1990 has been The Ernest Gellner Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he continues to teach and publish. Dr. Khazanov has never ceased exploring new areas of research. He has been planning a major work on the historic role of religion, particularly world religions, in pastoral nomadic societies. Since moving to the United States, Dr. Khazanov has also written on problems of development and change affecting formerly nomadic populations, arguing that international development projects aimed at pastoral peoples have failed miserably as they deny the rights of pastoralists to orchestrate and sustain their own development, or include pastoralists in the development enterprise. In addition, Dr. Khazanov has continued his long term work on ethnicity and nationalism, arguing that the process of globalization has done little to reduce ethnic and nationalist competition and conflict in the world. In sum, Dr. Khazanov has profound achievements and made major contributions to the fields of anthropology and archeology, where he has promoted scholarship of nomadic pastoralism, development and change, and issues of ethnicity and national identity.

The Commission on Nomadic peoples of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, in recognition of Professor Anatoly Khazanov’s distinguished contribution to the study of nomadic peoples, presents Professor Khazanov with its Lifetime Achievement Award.