Roland Cvetkovski: Empire of Fringes. On the Imperial Peripheries of Russia

Abstract

Peripheries are crucial for the understanding of empires because they produce both centrifugal and centripetal powers. It is not amazing then that they have been studied exhaustively with regard to the tensions they induced with the metropolis. This article focuses on the Russian case addressing its eastern, south-eastern and southern margins since it was exactly in these regions of explicit otherness where
the social, cultural and religious difference to the Russian heartland became most apparent and challenged imperial policy decisively. The peripheries were a categorical necessity for Petersburg to define and redefine a Russian-imperial identity; looking from the margins, however, the metropolis almost disappeared. Heterogeneity characterised both the imperial strategies of appropriating the peripheries and the otherness within the Russian Empire itself. This essay advocates adopting this factual heterogeneity into the historian’s epistemological mindset and historiographical practice.

The following titles were discussed i.a.:
Kraft, C./Lüdtke, A./Martschukat, J. (Hrsg.): Kolonialgeschichten (365); Aust, M./Vul'pius, R./Miller, A. (Hrsg.): Imperium inter pares (366); Lieven, D.: Empire (366); Miller, A./Rieber, A. (Hrsg.): Imperial Rule (366); Gerasimov, I./Kusber, J./Semyonov, A. (Hrsg.): Empire Speaks Out (367); Hausmann, G./Rustemeyer, A. (Hrsg.): Imperienvergleich (367); Matsuzato, K. (Hrsg.): Imperiology (367); Brower, D./Lazzerini, E. (Hrsg.): Russia’s Orient (368); Sunderland, W.: Taming the Wild Field (369); Burbank, J./Hagen, M./Remnev, A. (Hrsg.): Russian Empire (371); Geraci, R.: Window on the East (373); Kan, S.: Lev Shternberg (374); Stolberg, E. (Hrsg.): The Siberian Saga (376); Khodarkovsky, M.: Russia’s Steppe Frontier (380); Davies, B.: Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe (381); Brower, D.: Turkestan and the Fate of Russian Empire (382); Gammer, M.: The Lone Wolf and the Bear (385);  Jersild, A.: Orientalism and Empire (385);  Dettmering, C.: Russlands Kampf gegen Sufis (386)

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