Andrei Znamenski, a native of Russia, has studied history and anthropology both in Russia and the United States. Formerly a resident scholar at the Library of Congress, then a foreign visiting professor at Hokkaido University, Japan, he has taught various courses at Samara Pedagogical University, The University of Toledo, Alabama State University, and the University of Memphis. Among them are World Civilizations, Russian history, and the History of Religions.
Znamenski’s major fields of interests include Shamanism, the history of Western esotericism, and Russian history as well as indigenous religions of Siberia and North America. Znamenski lived and traveled extensively in Alaska, Siberia, and Japan. His field and archival research among Athabaskan Indians in Alaska and native people of the Altai (Southern Siberia) resulted in the book Shamanism and Christianity: Native Responses to Russian Missionaries (1999) and Through Orthodox Eyes: Russian Missionary Narratives of Travels to the Dena'ina and Ahtna(2003).
After this, Znamenski became interested in the cultural history of shamanism. Endeavoring to answer why shamanism became so popular with Western spiritual seekers since the 1960s, he wrote another book, The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination (2007) and edited the three-volume anthology Shamanism: Critical Concepts (2004). Simultaneously, he continued to explore shamanism of Siberian indigenous people, traveling to the Altai and surrounding areas, which led to the publication of Shamanism in Siberia (2003). Between 2003 and 2004, he resided in Japan, where along with his Japanese colleague, Professor Koichi Inoue, Znamenski worked with itako, blind female healers and mediums from the Amori prefecture. Znamenski is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Memphis, Memphis. He resides in Memphis, Tennessee.