Affiliation

National Research University Higher School of Economics, RUS

Biography

Dmitri M. Bondarenko (born 1968 in Moscow, U.S.S.R./Russia) is an anthropologist, historian, and Africanist. He graduated with M.A. (cum laude) in World History, Anthropology and English from Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1990, completed Ph.D. (World History and Anthropology) in 1993 at the Russian Academy of Sciences from which since 2000 he also holds the Dr Habil. (Doctor Habilitatus) degree in the same disciplines. He holds the titles of Professor in Ethnology from the Lomonosov Moscow State University (since 2007), Professor in Global Problems and International Relations from the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2015), and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in History (since 2016). Dmitri is Vice-Director of Research, Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the International Center of Anthropology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, and Full Professor of Ethnology, Russian State University for the Humanities. Bondarenko was a visiting scholar with the Program of African Studies of Northwestern University (Evanston, USA), Institut fuer Geschichte (Goettingen, Germany), and Maison des sciences de l'homme (Paris, France). Besides several Moscow-based universities, Dmitri has taught at the Agostinho Neto University in Angola. He has delivered guest lectures at universities of the U.S.A., Egypt, Tanzania, and Slovenia. Bondarenko is a member of a number of professional associations, including American Anthropological Association, The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific, African Studies Association, Cultural Evolution Society, The International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Societé des Africanistes, and European Association of Social Anthropologists (for which he serves as the Africanist Network Executive Committee Member and served as the Committee Chairperson in 2006–2008). Dmitri is a co-founder and co-editor of the international journal “Social Evolution and History” (in which essays on Big History regularly appear), a member of editorial boards of several other national and international journals and monograph series. His major research interests include social theory, anthropological and historical theory, political anthropology, culture and history of Africa south of the Sahara, socio-cultural transformations and intercultural interaction (including ethnic, racial, and religious aspects) with special focus on Africa and people of African descent worldwide. Bondarenko has conducted fieldwork in a number of African countries (Tanzania, Nigeria, Benin, Rwanda, Zambia, and Uganda), as well as among people of African origin in Russia and the USA. Dmitri Bondarenko’s main publications (almost 500 in total) include the monographs: Benin on the Eve of the First Contacts with Europeans: Personality. Society. Authority (Moscow: Institute for African Studies Press, 1995; in Russian), The Theory of Civilizations and the Dynamics of Historical Process in Pre-colonial Tropical Africa (Moscow: Institute for African Studies Press, 1997; in Russian), Pre-imperial Benin: Formation and Evolution of the Socio-political Institutions System (Moscow: Institute for African Studies Press, 2001; in Russian), A Popular History of Benin. The Rise and Fall of a Mighty Forest Kingdom (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003; with Peter M. Roese); Homoarchy: A Principle of Culture’s Organization. The 13th – 19th Centuries Benin Kingdom as a Non-State Supercomplex Society (Moscow: KomKniga, 2006), The Axial Ages of World History: Lessons for the 21st Century (Litchfield Park, AZ: Emergent Publications, 2014; with Ken Baskin), and The Shades of Black: Cultural-Anthropological Aspects of Mutual Perceptions and Relations between African Americans and African Migrants in the U.S.A. (Moscow: LRC, 2016; the English version is to be released by Sean Kingston Publishing, Canon Pyon, UK in 2018 under the title African Americans & American Africans: Race, Migration, History and Identity).

dbondar{at}hotmail.com

Articles

Approaching “complexity” in anthropology and complexity studies: The principles of socio-political organization and the prospects for bridging the interdisciplinary gap*
Volume: 9, Issue 3
Complexity is understood differently in anthropology and the complexity studies. I discuss the two principles of socio-political organization, particularly, the phenomenon of homoarchy as a counterpart to that of heterarchy. Respectively to heterarchy—“... the relation of elements to one another when they are unranked or when they possess the potential for being ranked in a number of different ways,” homoarchy is “the relation of elements to one another when they are rigidly ranked one way only, and thus possess no (or limited) potential for being unranked or ranked in another or a number of different ways at least without cardinal reshaping of the whole socio-political order.” For anthropology, it is wrong to postulate that either heterarchy or homoarchy presupposes a higher level of complexity, while for the complexity students the heterarchic model is more complex than homoarchic: It is not less sustained but has a higher degree of non-equilibrium.

The role of complexity studies in the emerging “processual” worldview
Volume: 20, Issue 1
As writers including Heinz Pagels to Lee Smolin have noted, a new scientific paradigm is emerging to take the place the linear model of Descartes and Newton. This paper explores Complexity Theory studies the patterns that emerge as phenomena evolve in the world suggested by that new paradigm. The co-authors refer to the new paradigm as "processual", because it depicts a world composed fundamentally of processes that flow through each other to create systemic causality, rather than the Newtonian image of a clock-like world of cause-and-effect. The paper relates how the co-authors used Complexity Theory to understand this emergent worldview as they wrote *The Axial Ages of World History*. In doing so, they discovered a way of understanding world history as extremely "thick" and multi-dimensional, less like a machine than an ecosystem. Complexity Theory, they conclude, stands as a gateway to such an understanding of disciplines from psychology to organizational development.