Sergei A. Kan

Academic Appointments
  • Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies

  • Jewish Studies

  • Russian Studies

  • Faculty Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

  • Affiliated Faculty, University of haifa, Israel

As a scholar of Native American ethnology and ethnohistory, I have been interested in ways in which Alaska Native (particularly Tlingit) cultures have changed over time while preserving some of their core values and maintaining a distinct indigenous identity.  I have also researched the history of American and Russian anthropology, particularly the interaction between Boasian and Russian anthropology from the early 1900s through the 1940s.  Currently I am preparing for publication an annotated book of photographs taken in Sitka, Alaska by Elbridge W. Merrill(1897-1929). I have also begun a large project on the history and culture of the Creole (Russian-Native) community of Sitka, Alaska. In addition I have recently joined a large multi-volume project dedicated to producing an annotated multi-volume edition of the professional correspondence of Franz Boas, the "father" of American anthropology; as part of an internation editorial team, I am responsible for editing the volume dealing with Boas' correspondence with his Russian colleagues. 


646-2550 646-2481
315 Silsby, Anthropology; 201 Sherman House, NAS
HB 6047


  • Moscow State University
  • B.A. Boston University
  • M.A. University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. University of Chicago

Selected Publications

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Speaking Engagements

  • Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, 2014

  • Annual Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Nashville, TN, 2016

  • Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, 2013

  • International Conference “Going to the People: Jews and the Ethnographic Impulse.” Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 2013

  • Fifth International Conference on Russian America,  Mariehamn, Finland, 2012

  • Tlingit Clan Conferences;  Sitka, Alaska, 2012; Juneau, Alaska, 2015, 2013

  • Annual Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Indianapolis, IN, 2014

  • Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, 2012

Works In Progress

  • A Multi-Ethnic Alaska Town: Sitka as Depicted by Elbridge W. Merrill's Photographs (1890s-1920s) (book)

  • Mortuary Rites, Memory, and Authority/Agency: Anthropology of Death in the Early twenty-First Century.    A Collection of Essays submitted for review to the Anthropoiogy of Religion series, Palgrave McMillan in August 2015.

    Co-edited with Sebastien P. Boret and Susan O. Long.

  • Alexander A. Goldenweiser: a Rebellious Boasian Anthropologist.  (An intellectual biography of one of the most brilliant yet underappreciated American anthropologists of the 1910s-1930s.