Dr. Elena Govor

Elena Govor was born in Russia and now lives in Australia, where she completed her doctorate in history at the Australian National University in 1996. Her research focuses on cross-cultural contacts between Russians and the peoples of the Pacific and Australia, in publications including: ‘Speckled Bodies: Russian Voyagers and Nuku Hivans, 1804’ in Nicholas Thomas et al., Tattoo: Bodies, Art and Exchange in the Pacific and the West (Reaktion Books, 2005); Twelve Days at Nuku Hiva: Russian Encounters and Mutiny in the South Pacific (UHP, 2010), chapters about South Pacific collections in Russian museums in Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art & European Museums, and Tiki: Marquesan Art and the Krusenstern Expedition.

In affiliation with the Australian National University, she has collaborated on the international projects: ‘Tatau/tattoo: Embodied art and cultural exchange’ (Getty Grant Program); ‘Artefacts of encounter’ and ‘Pacific Presences: Oceanic art and European museums’ (Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology); and ‘The collective biography of archaeology in the Pacific – a hidden history’ (ANU).

In 2003 she visited Nuku Hiva in the footsteps of the Krusenstern expedition; and conducted fieldwork in 2010, 2011 and 2014 in New Guinea and New Caledonia. She is currently working with Chris Ballard (ANU) on a long-term project researching Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay’s exploration, encounters and drawings in Oceania.

Books by Elena Govor

Douze jours à Nuku Hiva

Rencontres et révolte russe dans le Pacifique Sud

Elena Govor (edited by Marie-Noelle Ottino-Garanger) | 2021

La première expédition russe autour du monde, à l’aube du dix-neuvième siècle, fit suite à celles de Bougainville, Cook et La Pérouse. Menée par le commandant balte-allemand Adam von Krusenstern, elle était, à elle seule,…


Marquesan Art and the Krusenstern expedition

Edited by Elena Govor and Nicholas Thomas | 2019

Created across the six islands of a remote archipelago in eastern Polynesia, the art of the Marquesas is one of the world’s most distinctive and remarkable art traditions. Though exhibited in major museums around the…

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