Siberian Studies Working Group

IU Members of the Siberian Studies Working Group

Wookjin Cheun

Wookjin Cheun

Librarian for Slavic and East European Studies

Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Informatics, Computing, and Teaching

Kathryn Graber

Kathryn Graber

Associate Professor, Anthropology and Central Eurasian Studies

Tatiana Saburova

Tatiana Saburova

Academic Co-Director of the Russian Studies Workshop

Lecturer, Department of History, Indiana University

Russell Valentino

Russell Valentino

Professor and Department Chair, Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures


Digital Sibirica project aims to build and develop an open access online research resource, a descriptive database of digital Siberian collections of books, periodicals, maps, photographs, and postcards, accompanied by research tools for search and analysis. This online platform will include four main Modules:

1) Digital Sibirica Lib Guide that will help scholars of Siberia to navigate and search for primary and secondary sources, it aims to collect, aggregate, and structure data from available online regional libraries’ collections, serving as a digital library guide.

2) Open Letters Module that will preserve, digitize, attribute three Siberian family collections of postcards of the early twentieth century. This Module will make these collections available for research (as well as preserve them as complex historical sources about daily life in Siberia, family relations, identity and mobility, representing different social estates and professional groups in late Imperial and early Soviet Russia).

3) Yenisei Siberia in  Photographs of Ludwig Wonago Module. Our project team has already started to identify and annotate photographs taken by Wonago, a semi-professional photographer, a descendant of a Polish exile in Siberia and for this Module we digitize and publish online the Wonago’s photographic collection from Krasnoyarsk Regional Historical Museum that will make possible further attribution and research of his photographs picturing Imperial and early Soviet Siberia.

View the article "A Long-Lost Siberia Emerges In The Work Of A Forgotten Photographer" that discusses the work of Ludwig Wonago.

4)  Indigenous People of Siberia in photographs of Petr Ostrovskikh. This Module includes photographs from Krasnoyarsk and Minusinsk Historical museums to be digitized, attributed, annotated and published online for further research on Siberian history, anthropology and photography.

Project international team includes scholars from the USA and Russia:

  • Dr. Tatiana Saburova, Indiana University, Department of History, Russian Studies Workshop (Bloomington);
  • Dr. Alexandra Ippolitova,  Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) a researcher of Siberian ethnography and photography;
  • Il’ya Kuklinskii, Krasnoyrsk Regional Historical Museum, Associate Director for Exhibitions (Krasnoyarsk);
  • Alexander Ulvert, an independent researcher (Krasnoyarsk).

Digital Sibirica project is supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies and Russian Studies Workshop at Indiana University.

The Russian Studies Workshop has made it possible to bring several scholars on Russia's regions to Indiana University in order to give lectures and meet students and scholars. Scholars include:

Gertjan Plets, Anthropology, Utrecht University. (2nd visit) "Exceptions to Authoritarianism: Cultural Heritage Politics and Corporate Statecraft in the Altai Republic," January 29, 2020.

Vera Kuklina, Geography, George Washington University. "Between Large Scale Infrastructures and Local Communities: Informal Roads as Agents of Change," October 25, 2019.

Craig Campbell, Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin. "Through the Wilds: Industrialism and River Life in the Siberian North," October 8, 2019.

Angelina Davydova, Environmental journalism, European University St. Petersburg. "Environmental Challenges, Policies, and Grass-roots Campaigns in Today's Russia," February 15, 2019.

Bathsheba Demuth,  History, Brown University. "Producing the Ideological Reindeer: Capitalists and Communists on the Bering Strait Tundra, 1890-1980," October 25, 2018. Co-sponsored by Themester.

Susie Crate, Anthropology, George Mason University. "From Siberia Speaks the World: Ethnographic Insights in Times of Change," April 10, 2018. Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

Ted Holland, Political Geography, University of Arkansas. "To the Golden Abode: Kalmyk Buddhism in History, Minority, and Diaspora," March 1, 2018.

Gertjan Plets, Anthropology, Utrecht University. (1st visit) "Well-oiled Cultural Politics in the Altai Region: Promoting Indigenous Heritage in Gazprom's Resource Colonies," January 29, 2018; and "Violins and Trowels for Palmyra: Post-Conflict Cultural Diplomacy and the Russian Federation," January 31, 2018, co-sponsored by the Ostrom Workshop.

Critical Conversations in Russian Studies: ​We All Live on Permafrost, Virual panel, April 20, 2022

The Russian Far East: Regional and Transnational Perspectives (19th-21st cent.), Virtual Event, March 28-31, 2021

IU Europe Gateway: Regional Studies, Siberian Studies Working Group virtual book writing workshop, Berlin, May 11, 2020

Siberia: Infrastructure & Environment, Berlin, Germany, October 5-7, 2018

XI International Baikal Summer Workshop, Irkutsk and Ol'khon, Russia, September 9-15, 2018

VI International Conference of Scholars of Siberia, Irkutsk and Listvyanka, Russia, May 17-18, 2018

Asia in the Russian Imagination, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 23-24, 2018. The University of Utah’s Asia Center and Russian Program hosted this  interdisciplinary conference on Siberia, Central Asia, and the Russian Far East and North Pacific that resulted in two publications:

Bathsheba Demuth, NYU Jordan Center lecture, "Soviet Whaling and the Cold War," May 2,2019.

Kate Brown (University of Maryland) and Bathsheba Demuth (Brown University):  "Environmental History: From Siberia to Chernobyl," Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies 20th Aniversary Symposium: Re-Imagining Russia, February 19, 2021.

Moon, David, Nicholas B. Breyfolge, and Alexandra Bekasova, eds. Place and Nature: Essays in Russian Environmental History. 2021, The White Horse Press.

Graber, Kathryn. Mixed Messages: Mediating Native Belonging in Asian Russia. 2020, Cornell University Press.

Chu, Pey-Yi. The Life of Permafrost: A History of Frozen Earth in Russian and Soviet Science. 2020, University of Toronoto Press

Vakhtin, Nikolai and Stefan Dudek, ed. «Дети девяностых» в современной российской aрктике» ("Children of the 90's" in the Modern Russian Arctic"). 2020, European University, St. Petersburg. In Russian. An interview with the authors can be found here:​. Includes contributions by RSW's 2018 Siberia workshop scholars Asia Karaseva, Veronika Simonova. and Valeria Vasilieva. 

Urbansky, Sören.  Beyond the Steppe Frontier: A History of the Sino-Russian Border. 2020, Princeton University Press.

Demuth, Bathsheba. Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait. 2019, W. W. Norton & Company.

Zamiatina, Nadezhda.  "Магадан – город поиска / Magadan - the city of search."  Project Office for the Development of the Arctic (PORA) website, March 11, 2019.

Kuklina, V., Povoroznyuk, O., and Saxinger, G. "Power of Rhythms – Trains and Work Along the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) in Siberia." In Polar Geography, 42/1, 2019, pp. 18-33.

Ferguson, Jenanne. Words Like Birds: Sakha Language Discourses and Practices in the City. 2019, University of Nebraska Press.

Kasten, Erich, ed.  Jochelson, Bogoras and Shternberg: A Scientific Exloration of Northeastern Siberia and the Shaping of Soviet Ethnography. 2018, Kulturstiftung Sibirien.

Breyfogle, Nicholas. Eurasian Environments: Nature and Ecology in Imperial Russian and Soviet History. 2018, University of Pittsburgh Press.

«ЗА ЛУЧШЕЙ ДОЛЕЙ: ПЕРЕСЕЛЕНИЕ В СИБИРЬ КАК НАЦИОНАЛЬНЫЙ ПРОЕКТ» / "For a Bettter Life: Resettlement to Siberia as a National Project" [Pereselenie - collection of Tomsk archival documents]

Государственный архив в г. Тобольске / State Archives in Tobolsk

Meeting of Frontiers, a bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library

Государственный архив Новосибирской области / State Archives of the Novosibirsk Region

Электронный каталог Государственного архива Томской области / Electronic Catalog of the State Archives of the Tomsk Region

Интерактивная обучающая платформа Российской Арктики / Russian Arctic Interactive Learning Platform, an interactive education project on the Russian Arctic published by European University at Saint Petersburg

Интерактивная карта традиционного проживания коренных малочисленных народов Севера, Сибири и Дальнего Востока Российской Федерации / Interactive map of the traditional residence of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation

Ab Imperio: “Консолидация Северной Евразии: открытие Сибири “Consolidation of Northern Eurasia: The Discovery of Siberia” [April 13, 2019]

Хранители Сибири - Диксон. Забытые в Арктике / Guardians of Siberia - Dixon. Forgotten in the Arctic

REEI-R 500 Arctic Encounters: Animals, People, and Ships, Professor Stefanie Kane

HIST-J 300 Seminar in History: Siberia: Russia's Wild East, Professor Tatiana Saburova