Professor David Anderson

Professor David Anderson

Chair in The Anthropology of the North

Professor David Anderson
Professor David Anderson

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272772
The University of Aberdeen G5 Edward Wright Building
University of Aberdeen
AB24 4QY


Research Interests

political ecology, human-animal relations, development theory, political anthropology, landscape studies, ethnohistory, archaeology, the history of science and cross-cultural ideas of health.

Current Research

Research Areas:  Central and Eastern Siberia (Taimyr, Evenkiia, Pribaikal’e, Zabaikal’e, Iakutiia) and the Russian North (Kola, Arkhangel’sk), Northern Norway, and Northwestern Canada (Gwich’in Settlement Region)

Research Grants

Current projects

2012-2017 European Research Council Advanced Researcher Grant: Arctic Domus
(total budget €2,497,830 over 5 years)


This major research grant aims to develop a new theory of human animal relationships in the circumpolar North based on field and laboratory research in the Canadian, Scandinavian, Alaskan, and Russian Arctic and made up of a team of ten researchers and six cooperating laboratories.


2011-2013 Wenner Gren Foundation International Collaborative Research Grant
(total budget USD $29,500 over two years)

This project, held with the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology in St. Petersburg with Dr. Dmitrii Arziutov, aims to document the history of etnos theory with special reference to Siberian indigenous people through directed interviews and the digitisation of primary archival material.

Past projects

2006-2010 European Science Foundation BOREAS network grant
(total budget of €1,814,000 over three years involving 5 national funding councils)

This international network grant is designed to study the vernacular architecture, historical demography and household archaeology of circumpolar hunters over three years. It involves fieldwork in 4 countries and involves researchers based in Norway, USA, Canada, Sweden and Finland. The project involves co-ordinating the activities of 10 co-investigators and 35 project members, and directly managing the work with one post-doctoral fellow, one PhD student, and two contracted workers.

2006-2010        Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
(total budget of £110,000 over five years)

Prof. Anderson was the 'Ethnoarchaeological Module Leader' for an international MCRI research initiative to investigate the habitation sites and settlement architecture of Evenki, Buriat and Yakut communities in the Lake Baikal Area of Siberia.  The component involves ethnohistorical research, historical demographic research, and ethnoarchaeological fieldwork.  The project involves co-ordinating the work of 6 contracted archival researchers based in Russia, 3 ethnoarchaeological researchers, and 2 technicians based in Aberdeen.

2008-2009           Economic and Social Research Council (UK)
(total budget £38,000 over two years)

In collaboration with Dr. Nicholas Ellison, this project documented the performance of indigeneity in North America and Eurasia, with an international seminar on the topic in9-10 June 2009.  

2005-2008                 Norwegian Research Council, Norway
(total budget of £172,500 over three years)

This project is aimed at the recover, digitisation, and interpretation of archival documents from the 1926/27 Polar Census for Western Siberia and the Russian North.  It involves one post-doctoral researcher and seven contracted scholars across Russia.  This grant also covers 18 months research time release.

2005-2007         The British Library Endangered Archives Programme, UK
(total budget of £ 42,000 over one and a half years)

This project is designed to research, digitise, and preserve several collections of glass plate negatives of aboriginal people in Siberia in three collections in Central Siberia.  The grant covers the employment of two Russian researchers, two PhD students, and equipment.

 2003-2008         Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK
(total budget £147,000 over four years)

This project is aimed at a review of how archives in Russia and the former Soviet Union serve as an essential part of social memory.  The project involves a post-doctoral research fellow and a four contracted Russian scholars.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • 2007-2010 External Examiner, Tripos Part II, Department of Social Anthropology, Univ of Cambridge
  • 2007-2009 External Committee Member, SSHRCC Standard Research Grant Committee, Canada
  • 2004-2006 External Examiner, MPhil in Polar Studies, University of Cambridge

Admin Responsibilities

University Duties

    • 2010-2012 Steering Committee, Indigenous Masters Prog, Univ of Tromsø
    • 2007-2009 Senator, University of Aberdeen
    • 2007-2009 Vice President, Aberdeen branch of University and Colleges Union
    • 2009 School of Social Sciences working party on academic workload modelling
    • 2007-2008 AUCU representative, Working Party on Promotion Regulations
    • 2007-2008 AUCU representative, Joint [Union and University] Negotiating Committee
    • 2003-2007 Member, Executive Committee Aberdeen branch of University and Colleges Union
    • 2007 Dep’t representative, School of Social Sciences Executive Committee
    • 2005 Member, Special School of Social Sciences Committee on Undergraduate Assessment
    • 2005 Member, College of Arts and Social Sciences Committee on Teaching and Learning
  • 2005 Alternate Member, College of Arts and Social Sciences Committee on Research

 Departmental Duties

  • 2009 Exams Officer, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
  • 2007-2008 Head of Department, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen (rotating duty)
  • 2002-2005 Exams Officer, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
  • 2001-2004 Post-Graduate Student Admissions Officer, Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
  • 2000-2005 Undergraduate Student Honours Adviser of Studies, Anthropology, University of Aberdeen
  • 2000-2003 Undergraduate Student Honours Adviser of Studies, Sociology, University of Aberdeen
  • 2000-2004 Library Officer, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

Selection Committees


  • 2010 Chair, PhD Stipendiat Search Committee, University of Tromsø8
  • 2007 Chair, PhD Stipendiat Search Committee, University of Tromsø
  • 2006 Chair, PhD Fellowship Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 2005 Chair, Postdoctoral Fellowship Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 2005 Member, two Lecturer Search Committees, University of Aberdeen
  • 2004 Chair, PhD Fellowship Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 2004 Member, Lecturer Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 2004 Member, Postdoctoral Fellowship Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 2002 Member, Lecturer Search Committee, University of Aberdeen
  • 1999 Member, Assistant Professor Search Committee, University of Alberta

Reference Works

(2005) [with Nikolai Martynovich] The Turukhansk Polar Census Expedition: Manuscripts and Documents [DVD publication of over 1600 digitised documents from the 1926/1927 Polar Census, with catalogue and introduction]


 (2005) [with Mikhail Batashev and Nikolai Martynovich] The Photoalbum of the Turukhansk Polar Census Expedition [CD ROM and website publication of over 400 digitised photographs and glass plate negatives, with annotations and introduction]

(2005) [with Darren Shaw] The Demographic and Economic Dynamics of Aboriginal People in Central Siberia in 1926/27 [website publication with MySQL database allowing public access to part of the data of the 1926/27 Polar Census]

(2005) "Reindeer husbandry" in Encyclopaedia of the Arctic Routledge: New York, pp. 1752-1754. ISBN 1-57958-436-5

(2003) "The Khakasses" in The Turks [an Encyclopaedia] Yeni Turiyee: Ankara ISBN 975-6782-55-2

(2000"The Evenkis of Central Siberia". in M. Freeman (ed.)  Endangered Peoples of the Arctic: Struggles to Survive and Thrive.  Greenwood Press, Westport and London, pp 59-73

(2000)  "Evenkis of the Lower Yenisei Valley" In R. Daly & R. Lee. (eds.) The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Hunter Gatherers.  Cambridge University Press: Cambridge , pp 142-146.

Conferences and Seminars Convened

'The Ethnohistory and Archaeology of Northern Eurasia: Theory, Methods, Practice

      May 2006 [120 Participants] Conference organised with Hugh Mckenzie and Artur Kharinskii

'Aboriginal Rights: Leverhulme Special Lecture Series by Colin Scott'

            April 2005 [40 participants]

'Ethnicity in Siberia: Conference in the Memory of B.O.Dolgikh'
November 2004 [60 participants] Conference organised with Nikolai Makarov.

'International Conference on Coastal Adaptations', Aberdeen

May 2003 [50 participants]. Conference organised with Hugh Mckenzie and Neil Curtis.

'9th Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies', Edinburgh, September 2002 [350 participants].  Conference organised with Tim Ingold, Alan Barnard, Nancy Wachowich and others.  Responsibility for overall organisation of accommodation and evening 'fringe' sessions.

Peer Review

Peer Reviews of Manuscripts and Funding Proposals

Book manuscripts

Cambridge University Press, Cornell University Press, Oxford University Press, Pluto Press, University of British Columbia Press, University of Washington Press, Pennsylvania University Press; Berghahn Press.

Journal articles

American Anthropologist, Acta Borealis, Anthroplogica, Arctic, Conservation & Society, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Management Review, Eurasian Studies, Ethnos, Etudes/Inuit/Studies, Human Ecology, Human Organisation, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Polar Research, Polar Record, Sibirica

Research Grant Proposals

Economic and Social Research Council, United Kingdom, Arctic Sciences Programme, National Science Foundation, USA, Circumpolar and Boreal Research Committee, Canadian Circumpolar Institute, Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,Wenner Gren Foundation, United States



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  • Anderson, DG 2017, 'Etnos theory in 1917 and Today', Paper presented at 1917 and Today: Putin, Russia and the Legacy of Revolution, Victoria, Canada, 25/07/17 - 27/07/17.
  • Harrault, LCP, Aronsson, K-Å, Domene Lopez, G, Milek, KB & Anderson, DG 2017, 'Geoarchaeological tools to contextualise ancient pastoral sites in Suollagavalda, northern Sweden', Paper presented at Humanor project meeting February 2017 - University of Aberdeen (UK), Aberdeen, United Kingdom, 27/02/17 - 28/02/17.
  • Anderson, DG 2017, 'Humans and Animals in Northern Regions', Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 46, pp. 133-149. [Online] DOI:
  • Anderson, DG 2017, 'Indigenous Land Entitlements, and Land-use Mapping, in the Canadian and Russian Arctic', Paper presented at Development of the UK-Russia Arctic Research and Collaboration Network, Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation, 16/11/17 - 17/11/17.
  • Anderson, DG, Milek, KB, Kamerling, IM, Plekhanov, A & Harrault, LCP 2017, 'Landscapes of domestication: Ethnoarchaeological and palaeoecological studies of the environmental impacts of reindeer herding', Paper presented at 9th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS IX), Umeå, Sweden, 8/06/17 - 12/06/17.
  • Anderson, DG, Kvie, KS, Davydov, VN & Røed, KH 2017, 'Maintaining genetic integrity of coexisting wild and domestic populations: Genetic differentiation between wild and domestic Rangifer with long traditions of intentional interbreeding', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7, no. 17, pp. 6790-6802. [Online] DOI:
  • Harrault, LCP, Domene Lopez, G, Anderson, DG, Aronsson, K-Å & Milek, KB 2017, 'Methodological use of Magnetic Susceptibility to locate ancient reindeer herder hearths in Suollagavalda, northern Sweden: A geoarchaeological approach', Ethnoarchaeology of fire, La Laguna, Spain, 9/02/17 - 12/02/17.
  • Anderson, DG, Kvie, K, Roed, K & Davydov, V 2017, 'Populi͡at͡sionno-geneticheskiĭ i ėtnograficheskiĭ analiz ėvenkiĭskoĭ praktiki razvedenii͡a oleneĭ v Zabaĭkal'e', Paper presented at Interdisciplinary Research in Archeology, Ethnography and the History of Siberia in honour of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Nikolai Auerbakh, Krasnoiarsk, Russian Federation, 27/09/17 - 30/09/17 pp. 228-235.
  • Anderson, DG, Milek, KB & Harrault, LCP 2017, 'Shifting Sands and Climate Change: Modalities of Dwelling at Yarte, Yamal, Siberia', Paper presented at Societé Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) 13th Congress, Göttingen, Germany, 26/03/17 - 30/03/17. [Online] DOI:
  • Harrault, LCP, Milek, KB, Anderson, DG & Dawson, LA 2017, 'Understanding past activities of pastoral nomadic Nenets from Western Siberia using a geoarchaeological toolkit', Ethnoarchaeology of fire, La Laguna, Spain, 9/02/17 - 12/02/17.
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