Between Sleep and Wild Pations: Emotions and Empathy in Ethnography of the 19th – 20th centuries
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Voguls (Mansi) Bashkirs feelings emotions frontier consciousness V. Zefirov K. Nosilov ethnographic essays

How to Cite

1. Gramatchikova N. Between Sleep and Wild Pations: Emotions and Empathy in Ethnography of the 19th – 20th centuries // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2021. № 1 (6). C. 69-92.


Evaluation of the emotional states of different ethnic groups is important for their images in the popular ethnographic prose of the 19th – 20th centuries. Reduced emotions are triggers for ethnos' "invisibility", emotional outbursts may be qualified as "savagery". Thus the problem of "right feelings" has become one of the most important topics for the ethnographers and researchers. The purpose of this study is to determine which emotional states in other communities are attractive or unacceptable for ethnographers. Our study is based on the book of essays written by K. Nosilov (1858–1923), an Ural traveler and ethnographer. “The Voguls” (1904) is written in the non-fictional style and describes the life, nature and emotions of northern peoples. In Nosilov’s texts the Voguls (Mansi) are sensitive, quiet, open for communication with spirits. Although we can reveal some positions of colonialist discourse in Nosilov’s essays, he actively builds a personal relationship with Voguls, trying to dive as deep as possible into their culture. The crucial point in the process is his participation in the sacrifice when the writer turns to affect (fear, terror, disgust), caused by the sight of a new image of his familiar hunters. Thus, the strong emotional component becomes an obstacle to acceptance of other cultures. However, a researcher can recreate the holistic view of the ethnic group only if he becomes a witness to ecstatic states, not just daily life. Nosilov found the emotional balance and paints a picture of the transformation of the cathartic emotions during a vogul theatrical performance.
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