This course will draw on the 22- year long project developed by the team of Ab Imperio Journal, which aimed at historical reflection on legacies of multiple empires and diversity in the region of Northern Eurasia. Since 2008 the Ab Imperio project has aimed at systematic critique of analytical language of historiography and historical narratives that defined through the prism of essentialist and nation-centered categories “the course of Russian history.” This angle is very timely today in 2022, when categories of civilizational hierarchy, authenticity, and ethno-national identification blew up the regional international order. The course will cover the historiographic debates on understanding historic imperial formations, imperial visions, and post-imperial imaginaries associated with the heterogeneous experience of the polity that was called the Russian Empire. We will specifically focus on changing paradigms of understanding historically formed diversity with the help of recently advanced approaches to exploration imperial political belonging and subjectivity (citizenship) and imperial and post-imperial political imaginaries (including visions of the nationalizing empire, race, estate, class, ethnicity, region, and religion). Special attention will be paid to the moments of rupture (reform and revolution) in hegemonic political languages and languages of self-description in the mass and heterogeneous society of the Russian Empire.
- Teacher: Alexander Semyonov