About me

Svetlana I. Ryzhakova

Dr.hab.hist. (Ethnography, Ethnology, Anthropology)

PhD and Dr.habil. from Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, 1998 and 2011.

Leading research fellow in Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow. Member of Indian Anthropological Society, member of European Association of Social Anthropologists.

Field of research interests: cultural anthropology, ethnology, mythology and folklore, symbols, regional culture and nationalism, religious practices, performing studies.

Svetlana carries out extensive fieldwork in India (West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan etc.) and Baltic countries since 1998, exploring traditional culture and day-to-day life, local and ethnic identities, myth-making, invention of traditions, communities engaged in arts and crafts creation and transmission. Her ethnographic personal archive encompass more then 2000 hours video and audio recording, more then 5000 photos, as well as daily diary notes. Her collection of Indian ethnographical artefacts (more then 5000 units) partly is donated to ethnographic museum in Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science.

Her writings include books (“Language of Ornament in Latvian Culture” (2002), “Cultural Anthropology” (with Dr. Sergey Arutiunov, 2004), “Indian Dance, an Art of Transformation” (2004), “Historica lettica” (2010), “Cultura lettica” (2017), “Journey to Eternity: Indian ethnographic notes” (2018)) and numerous articles published in scientific international journals, publications on various aspects of national culture including neo-paganism in Baltic countries (dievturiba and Romuva), various local traditions and communities of India.

Svetlana Ryzhakova is a member of scientific and editorial boards of few scientific magazines, including “The Journal of Social Science and Humanity Research” (West Bengal, India), “Studia Religiosa Rossica” and “Balto-Slavic Studies” (Moscow), “Soshum: Jurnal Sosial dan Humaniora [Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities]” (Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia), Civiltà e Religioni” (Italy).

In 1996 she joined class of Guru Rajendra Gangani in Kathak Kendra (New Delhi), she has both practical experience and theoretical knowledge in Kathak as well as some other forms of performance (kinesthetic and dance traditions of Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka, Manipur, Bali). She performs in India, Russia and European countries, representing both traditional Indian dance styles and her own artistic vision based on extensive research in comparative arts history and theory, philosophy, spirituality and ethnography. Her solo dance repertoire includes old performance traditions of North Indian regions, Sufiyana, devotional dance, historical dance of Bali.

Since 1998 she lectures in Russian State University for Humanities (on cultural anthropology, Indian ethnology, Indian religions, comparative mythology and folklore); she delivered lectures in State University of Latvia, Central European University (Budapest), Asiatic Society (Kolkata, India), Anthropological Survey of India, Indira Gandhi National Institute of Art (New-Delhi, India), Delhi University, Calcutta University, Mavlana Azad University and many others. Since 2018 – a member of a team board of examination for Aligarh Muslim University; since 2020 – a member of the academic advisors of DHSK College, Dibrugarh, Assam (India).