Director, Alaska NSF EPSCoR - Peter Schweitzer
I was born and raised in Austria, where I also received my anthropological education. During the 1980s, I became fascinated with the mysterious country that no longer exists, the Soviet Union. A student exchange program enabled me to study in Leningrad for one academic year in 1986/87 and to begin ethno-historic research about the Chukchi Peninsula in the Russian Far East, which led to Ph.D. degree awarded by the University of Vienna in 1990. Since 1990, I had several opportunities for longer and shorter field trips to Chukotka and, more recently, to the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Since 1992, I have also been conducting fieldwork in various communities on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska. I joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at UAF in 1991.
My topical interests, in addition to the above-mentioned historical inquiries, encompass social organization (kinship, gender, politics), hunter-gatherer studies, the history of anthropology, transnationalism and other forms of interethnic contact, as well as practices and ideologies of colonialism and their local impacts. I am currently working on two books exploring different aspects of the history of anthropology (one of them portraying the anthropology of Siberia as an international enterprise, the other summarizing the contributions of German-language anthropology). In addition, a recently completed grant on “mixed” communities in Northeastern Siberia will continue to inform my publications in years to come. A recently awarded interdisciplinary grant, about freshwater on the Seward Peninsula, will provide me with an opportunity to explore the interface between local and western scientific perceptions of global change.