CREES Brown Bag. “Mirrors of Russian Imperial History: A Case of Ideological Construction of Empire in the Early Twentieth Century and a Reflection on Politics of Comparison in Contemporary Historical Debates.”
Alexander Semyonov, visiting associate professor of history, U-M; and associate professor of history and political science, Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University. Sponsors: CREES, Department of History.
Writing in 1998, Rogers Brubaker criticized "analytically primitive currents in the study of nationalism" in the field of East European studies. Since then the situation has certainly been remedied by the robust application of constructivist theories. By contrast, empire, nationalism's nemesis, has rarely been the subject of constructivist and cognitive turn, although interest in the Russian Empire and comparative lessons from the study of the Russian Empire has grown dramatically in the past decade. This talk will address this imbalance on the basis of a historical case of intellectual crossings between the British Empire and the Russian Empire in the early twentieth century, tracing the interrelationship between epistemic and political choices in the discussion of empire in the Russian liberal milieu, and on the basis of current historiographic discussion on the comparative framing of Russian imperial experience.