Winner of both the prestigious Russian Little Booker and Anti-Booker prizes, Alexander Goldstein’s book Parting from Narcissus (1997) advanced the Levantine idea as a new perspective enabling Russian-Israeli literature to become an integral part of the Mediterranean cultural ecumene. This concept was designed to facilitate both the writer’s literary self-fashioning and his cultural absorption. Having mobilized the notion of the Levantine to valorize his position in a broad Russian literary context, Goldstein, however, failed to embody the main tenets of post-orientalist multiculturalism associated with this notion; rather, he used the Israeli context to uphold Russian imperial views. Circulating in Israel exclusively among immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the Russian-Israeli Levantine literary idea with its ostensible cosmopolitan perspective clashed with the prevailing ethnonational segregationism of this milieu. The lack of acceptance by his Russian-Israeli audience was a major factor impelling Goldstein eventually to abandon his Levantine idea and to embrace the Jewish ethnonationalism that permeates the books he wrote after Parting from Narcissus.
Review on a new book of the American historian Alison Smith. The pioneer approach to the problem of "estates" in imperial Russia suggested by Smith is analyzed in this review.
Review of the book "Children of the Gulag". This groundbreaking book offers a comprehensive documentary history of children whose parents were identified as enemies of the Soviet regime from its inception through Joseph Stalin's death. When parents were arrested, executed, or sent to the Gulag, their children also suffered. Millions of children, labeled "socially dangerous," lost parents, homes, and siblings. Co-edited by Cathy A. Frierson, a senior American scholar, and Semyon S. Vilensky, Gulag survivor and compiler of the Russian documents, the book offers documentary and personal perspectives.
The article reconstructs the history of the creation of Russia’s literary canon in the second half of the nineteenth century, and more speci cally – the phenomenon of Russian classic literature as codi ed in the high school curriculum of the time. The fact that teaching Russian literature was not abandoned in schools in the 1870s and that the writings published before about 1842 had acquired the status of “classics” owed to a very speci c political constellation. The author argues that the turn toward classicism in education in the early 1870s by the newly appointed minister of public education, Dmitry Tolstoy, re ected the regime’s determination to embrace and promote Russian nationalism while curtailing its democratic potential. This both opened up an opportunity for Russian literature to be included in the school curriculum and mandated the format of this inclusion as rigid lists of compulsory reading.
The article is an attempt of takign stock of the burgnoining field of empire studies but devising the framework of general challanges of historical understanding of empire of methodological nature. The main thesis is that studies of empire are heavily influenced by the visions and epistemes of modern social sciences which, in their turn, are woven into the performativity of nation. Thus the true understnding of empire is suggeted to lay in a radical historivization of this political and social phenomenon. The approach of historiziation is further enunciated in the article with the help of the theory of estrangement and with reference to the history of the Russian Empire.
In the interview to Ab ImperioJournal within the series “Conversation with Author” Pieter Judson shares the research laboratory behind his revisionist account of the history of the Habsburg Empire (The Habsburg Empire: A New History) which was published by Harvard University press in English in 2016. The interview reveals an interesting historiographic situation at the end of the 20thcentury when historians of the Habsburg Empire felt the need to differentiate its experience from the domineering perspective coming from the history of the Russian Empire, while historians who rediscovered the imperial dimension in Russian history followed the ideal-type of the Habsburg multinational empire. The major thrust of revising the history of Habsburg Empire by Judson is twofold: to explore in the long dureeperspective the vitality of the empire-building (“state-building from above” and “state-building from below”) in the Habsburg case through institutions and subjecthood, i.e. to decenter the national narratives about the composite Habsburg space and the idiom of inevitable decline of the Habsburg empire as another “sick man” in Europe; and to advance a systematic and symmetric comparison of modern statehood in Europe, in which the Habsburg case does not look exotic, having the imperial dimension. The interview touches on the question of global and comparative history of empires, the usefulness of comparative taxonomy of colonial-continental empire, the problem of analytical languages and hegemony of nation-centered imaginary in description of the historical experience of empire, the balance between political and social and cultural history approaches to understanding empire, and, finally, on the reception of the book in the region.
This survey explores the development of post-colonial studies and the limits they reached with the established assumptions about the colonial empire and posits questions to this tradition from the field of new imperial history.
Alexander Semyonov discusses the recently published book Imperial Visions: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World, by Krishan Kumar, within the broader context of ongoing historiographic debates on global and imperial history, empires as regimes for managing diversity, ruptures and transformations in histories of empire, comparisons between and entangle- ment of imperial histories, methodological nationalism, and nationalism and collapse of empires. Semyonov contends that Imperial Visions relates to recent developments in the eld of global history, provides an impor- tant corrective to the view of global historians that empires are primarily political formations, and strengthens the argument of constructivists in the eld of global history, such as that of Sebastian Conrad on global history as an approach and the processes of “world making.” The most innovative contribution by Imperial Visions to the growing literature on empires is its systematic development of a constructivist approach to empire through ideas and ideologies of imperial mission and entanglement of imperial and national power claims. The article engages the ndings by Kumar with what Semyonov calls the growing consensus on “imperial pragmatism” (which stresses governing and practices in the experience of empire) and tests Ku- mar’s conclusions against the existing historical studies of subjectivity and functioning of universalist visions in the context of imperial diversity and hybridity. Semyonov also nds a serious tension in the book between the constructivist approach to empire through imperial ideologies and visions and the structuralist and essentialist view of the “imperial people.”