Stephan Dudeck

Assistant Professor
Academic degree:
PhD (Университет Лейпцига)

Stephan Dudeck is an anthropologist working at the European University at Saint Petersburg (Russia) and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland (Finland). He has established close collaborations with Siberian indigenous peoples and conducted long-term anthropological fieldwork with Siberian reindeer herding communities. 

Stephan Dudeck completed his dissertation on the persistence of reindeer herders’ lifestyles in Western Siberia at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany in 2011. Since 1993 he regularly visits Khanty and Nenets reindeer herders living on the oil fields of Western Siberia in the Khanty-Mansi and the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Districts. Among his major interests in the anthropology of indigenous groups in the Arctic are the herders’ neo-traditional and nativistic movements, their adaptation to technological change and practices of hiding and avoidance. His scientific publications deal with reindeer pastoralism, the relationship of indigenous people and oil-companies, indigenous rights, the preservation of indigenous languages and traditional knowledge, and the methodology of anthropological action research.
He has worked for various international NGOs on indigenous issues in Siberia. He presented his photographic work at several exhibitions in ethnographic museums and galleries in Germany. For the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences he has done research on the Siberian expedition of Wolfgang Steinitz, a renowned linguist of Finno-Ugric languages. He has worked as a consultant for several ethnographic films on Western Siberian reindeer herders.





2011 Doctor Philosophiae (Dr.phil.) at the University of Leipzig, Germany

2008 – 2010: Doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany


Professional experience, research and outreach activities

since 2015: teaching Arctic Social Studies at the Faculty of Anthropology at the European University at Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia

since 2013: member of the international POLARIS Project (Cultural and Natural Heritage in Arctic and Sub-Antarctic Regions for a Cross-Cultural and Sustainable Valorisation Process and Tourism Development: Siberia, Lapland and Patagonia)

since 2011: member of the Anthropology Research Team at the Arctic Centre, Anthropology Research Team, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland

2011 -2015 Member of the ORHELIA (Oral History of Empires by Elders in the Arctic) research project in collaboration with indigenous communities in Finland and Russia, financed by the Academy of Finland

2008-2010 Research about the public representation of indigenous culture at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany

2007 Freelance for the Academy of Sciences of Berlin and Brandenburg for research on the photographic legacy of Wolfgang Steinitz (Western Siberian Expedition in 1935)



since 2015: courses in Arctic Social Studies of European University at Saint Petersburg: “Oil and the People - Extractive Industries and Local Livelihoods in Siberia” and “On both sides of the camera – indigenous people and the ethnographic filmmaker through history” (forthcoming)

since 2013: courses at the Arctic Studies Program of the University of Lapland: ASPB1104 “Peoples, Culture and Identities of the Arctic”; ASPA 1304 (advanced): “Identities on the Move: senses of belonging to place and people”; ASPA 1305 (advanced): “On, in and under earth and water: how do we study people’s use of Arctic resources in the past, present and future?”

2015 “Neft’ i korennye narody” (Oil and indigenous people) lecture in Russian as part of the Arctic Social Studies course at the European University at Saint Petersburg, Russia


Anthropological fieldwork 

September 2014, November 2015 and March-April 2016 – revisiting the Eastern Khanty in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District in Western Siberia, Russia

Since 2012-2014 eight months of fieldwork with European Nenets reindeer herding communities in Russia

2007 – one month of field research with Komi, Evenk, Itelmen, Even and Koryak people in the Komi Republic, The Amur District and on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

1997-1998 six months of field research within a project on the socio-economic situation of mountain Tadzhiks in the future biosphere reserve ‘Nuratau-Kyzylkum’ Uzbekistan, organised by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

1996 one month of fieldwork in the Northern Ural Mountains among the Tundra Nenets in the Yamal Nenets Autonomous District in Western Siberia, Russia

from 1993 - 2009 over 20 months of fieldwork with seminomadic reindeer herders, fishers and hunters among the Eastern Khanty and Forest Nenets in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District in Western Siberia, Russia


since 2014 Member of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, EASA
since 2011 Member of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association, IASSA
since 2008 Member of the German Anthropological Association (DGV), Regional Chapter “Circumpolar Regions and Siberia”


Publications (since 2008)


2013 Der Tag des Rentierzüchters: Repräsentation indigener Lebensstile zwischen Taigawohnplatz und Erdölstadt in Westsibirien. (The Day of the Reindeer-Herder: Representation of Indigenous Lifestyles between Taiga Settlement and Oil-industrial Town in Western Siberia.) Fürstenberg/Havel: Kulturstiftung Sibirien. 351 pp., ISBN: 978-3-942883-17-7

Articles and chapters:

2015 “The Making of a Home in a Changing Northern Context: An Ethnographic Account of Contemporary Housing Practices among Russian Reindeer Nomads” (with Svetlana Usenyuk and Nikolai Garin). The Polar Journal, 5 (1): 170-202. doi:10.1080/2154896X.2015.1038059.

2015 “‘Do You Respect Me?’ Drinking as a Social Catalyst in the Reindeer Herding Communities of European Russia and Western Siberia.” Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore, 61: 89-116. doi:10.7592/FEJF2015.61.dudeck.

2015 “Khanty Subsistence in a Changing Environment - Reindeer Herding and Indigenous Survival Strategies in Western Siberia.” In Proceedings of the 29th International Abashiri Symposium: Environmental Change and Subsistance of Northern Peoples: Developement and Adaptation. Abashiri: Association for the Promotion of Northern Cultures, 33-40.

2015 «Кочующая память» - методологический опыт изучения устной истории коренных сообществ Арктики. In Семиотика единства и этнокультурного многообразия исторического пространства Русского Севера = Semiotics of unity and ethno-cultural diversity of the Russian North’ historical space. Николай Михайлович Теребихин, ed. Pp. 41–53. Поморские чтения по семиотике культуры, вып. 8. Архангельск: М-во образования и науки Архангел. обл., Науч. образоват. центр «Ломоносов. дом», Сев. (Арцт.) федер. ун-т им. М.В. Ломоносова, Вентр сравнит. религиоведения и этносемотики.

2014 “Drinking and Driving Is So Much Fun.” Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, 7 (2): 93-95.

2013 “Oral History of Empires by Elders in the Arctic (ORHELIA): A Common History, a Common Economy, Common Language Roots, and Different Practices among Four Arctic Indigenous Peoples.” In Oral History: Dialogue With Society = Mutvārdu Vēsture: Dialogs Ar Sabiedrību, 56-76. Rīga.

2013 “Challenging the state educational system in Western Siberia: Taiga-school and multimedia center on the Tiuityakha river.” In Erich Kasten and Tjeerd de Graaf (Eds). Sustaining Indigenous Knowledge: Learning Tools and Community Initiatives for Preserving Endangered Languages and Local Cultural Heritage. Fürstenberg/Havel: Kulturstiftung Sibirien, 129-157.

2012“Multiple Privacies-Nesting Spheres of Intimacy in Western Siberian Indigenous Lifestyles“ (with Elena Liarskaya) In Margherita Carucci (ed). Revealing Privacy: Debating the Understandings of Privacy. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Publishers, 61-74.

2012 “From the Reindeer Path to the Highway and Back – Understanding the Movements of Khanty Reindeer Herders in Western Siberia“. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, 6 (1): 89–106.

2010 “Indigenous Oil Workers between the Oil Town of Kogalym and Reindeer Herder’s Camps in the Surrounding Area.” In Biography, Shift-Labour and Socialisation in a Northern Industrial City – The Far North: Particularities of Labour and Human Socialisation Proceedings of the International Conference in Novy Urengoy, Russia, 4th – 6th December 2008, 138-146.
2009 “Siberian Reindeer Pastoralism and Challenges Facing Reindeer Herders in Western Siberia.” Indigenous Affairs 3-4 (3): 60-70.

2008 “Wolfgang Steinitz’ fotografischer Nachlass von der Expedition zu den Ostjaken (Chanty) 1935”. (The photographic heritage of Wolfgang Steinitz from his expedition to the Ostyak (Khanty) in 1935) In: Arkheologiia i etnografiia Priob’ia: materialy i issledovaniia (k 70-letnemu iubileiu d. i. n. professora N. V. Lukinoi). Sbornik trudov Kafedry arkheologii i etnologii Istoriko-geograficheskogo fakul’teta. Tomsk: Tomskii gosudarstvennyi pedagogicheskii universitet, 34-46.