Volkov (Vovk) Fedor Kondratyevich

17 March [ 5 March] 1847 (1847-03-17), Kryachkovo village, Poltava Governorate — 29 June 1918 (1918-06-30), Zhlobin, Gomel Governorate


Biography, education, career:

Fedor Volkov devised a programme of ethnographic study of Ukrainians. He took active participation in organizing the III Archaeological Congress in Kiev (1874). Volkov was an active member of the Kiev Gromada (an organization of the Ukrainian liberal-bourgeois intelligentsia) organized by N.I. Ziber; he also showed an interest in Marxism and the Narodnic movement. In 1879, to avoid arrest, he fled to Western Europe. From 1887 he lived in Paris, working in the fields of physical anthropology, comparative ethnography, and pre-historic archaeology. He was a member of the editorial board of the L’Anthropologie journal; took part in the organization of the archaeological section at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (the 1900 Paris Exposition); he taught somatic anthropology, pre-historic archaeology and ethnography at the Russian Higher School of Social Sciences in Paris (1901–1905). On returning to Russia in 1905‑1917 he became one of the creators and curators of the Department of Ethnography of the State Russian Museum. He gathered Ukrainian ethnographic collections, initiated and edited The Materials on the Ethnography of Russia. From 1907 he was a lecturer (and from 1917 – Professor, Doctor Honoris Causa) at the Department of Geography and Ethnography of Saint-Petersburg University. From 1911 he was Head of the Russian Anthropological Society. In 1917 he was elected Head of the Department of Geography and Ethnography of Kiev University. He left for Kiev in 1918 to undergo medical treatment and died of typhoid fever on the way. Volkov is the author of classic scientific papers on ethnography of Ukrainians. In 1930-s his papers were criticized for “bourgeois nationalism”.

Areas of expertise: Archaeology; History and ethnography of primitive peoples; History and ethnography of Slavic peoples; Paleoethnography

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