• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Book chapter
In press

Cherkaev X., Paxson H., Helmreich S.

In bk.: An Anthropogenic Table of Elements: Experiments in the Fundamental. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022. P. 61-69.

Working paper
Language and Cultural Contacts in the Russian-Nordic Borderlands: Change and Continuity

Vlakhov A., Deresh A., Mironova E. et al.

Linguistics. WP BRP. НИУ ВШЭ, 2021. No. 108.

Gifts of Empire

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
1 year, 2 module


Course Syllabus


What is gift? What does it mean to give a gift and receive one? What social relations are created by gift giving? Do gifts play a similar role in all societies? Is ‘pure’ or ‘free’ gift possible? These are the questions of the classical gift theory which appeared in anthropology in the early twentieth century as a way to understand traditional or stateless societies. These are the questions that scholars ask today too, but in a new research context. What is the place of gift in societies that are dominated by market exchange? How did gift giving work in assembling tributary and trade empires? How does modernity take gift form — in ‘civilising mission’, ‘development’, ‘modernisation’, aid and humanitarianism? What is imperial on these modalities of governance? What are gifts of this empire? This course focuses on some of the key work in this field of anthropology and history.