Sergei A. Kan

Academic Appointments
  • Professor of Anthropology

  • Jewish Studies

  • Russian Studies

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

  • Affiliated Faculty, University of Haifa, Israel

Connect with Us

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.  Recently I completed an intellectual biography of Alexander Goldenweiser (1880-1940), a porminent American anthropologist of Russian-Jewish descent. Currently I am also preparing for publication an annotated book of photographs taken in Sitka, Alaska by Elbridge W. Merrill(1897-1929). A new project in the history of anthropology that I have recently began is an intellectual biography of another major American anthropologist of the first half of the 20th centruy -- Paul Radin (1883-1959).


646-2550 646-2481
Silsby, Room 315
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

  • Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, October 14, 2020

    "Alexander Goldenweiser: An American Anthropologist with Russian Jewish Roots."

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

  • "Moisei Krol's Return to the Jewish People via Ethnographic Research among the Buryats."

    Paper presented at the 2020 Meeting of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. Lisbon, Portugal, July 22, 2020.

  • Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Denver, 2015

  • Fr. Andrew Kashevaroff (1863-1940), an Ethnologist of Alaska Native Cultures.

    Paper presented in the Americanist Seminar, Moscow, Russia, November 21, 2020

  • 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, 2017, 2015, 2013

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

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

  • Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association, Vancouver, Canada, 2019

  • American Society for Ethnohistory, Annual Meeting, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2018

  • A Russian Amercan Photographer in Tlingit Country: Vincent Soboleff in Alaska

    Lecture (in Russian) Sponsored by the United States Embassy, Russia. Moscow, Russia, May 17, 2017

Works In Progress

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

  • A Russian translation of my 2009 book Lev Shternberg: Anthropologist, Russian Socialist, Jewish Activist. Academic Studies Press.

  • An intellectual biography of Paul Radin (1883-1959), a major figure in American anthropology of the first half of the twentieth century.

Selected Works & Activities

As a member of the Organizing Committee: preparing the Fall 2021 Conference "Sharing Our Knowledge": a venue that brings together academic and tribal scholars and activists working on Tlingit culture and history