Alexander Volkov: of Sand and Silk
In September 2012 Christie’s will present ‘Of Sand and Silk’, the first European solo-exhibition of the prominent Russian artist Alexander Volkov (1886-1957). The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue. Volkov was born in the Fergana valley into the family of a Russian military doctor. He achieved significant lifetime recognition for his depictions of Central Asia, his paintings uniquely combining cutting-edge Western painterly styles with the inspiration he drew from traditional Central Asian craftsmanship. Volkov loved his homeland passionately and often repeated: “One does not need the whole world. A small part will suffice”.
Iran has remained one of the most effective tools in Russia's foreign policy towards the West for more than two hundred years. Drawing on previously unpublished and recently declassified sources which change the established wisdom on many aspects of the history of Russia and Iran, Denis V. Volkov examines this relationship, and situates it within the broader context of Oriental studies. With a particular focus on the activities of scholars-diplomats, as well as scholars involved in academia, missionary activities and the military within their own professional domains, Volkov analyses the interaction of intellectuals with state structures and their participation in the process of shaping and conducting foreign policy towards Iran. This work explores the specific institutional practices of Russia's Oriental studies, including organisation of scholarly intelligence networks, taking advantage of state power for the promotion of institutional and individual interests, and profound engagement with Russia's domestic and foreign policy discourses of its time.
The book discusses the principal aspects of description of the East in the Western scholarly discourse as well as in art and literature. An analysis of the interpretations of the East by the West (and vice versa) and their historical evolution has emerged as especially important in the light of ongoing globalization, which has triggered the intensifi cation of ideological, religious, economic and cultural differences between the East and the West. The goal of the book is to distill a critical understanding of Orientalist / Occidentalist discourses and to question cross-cultural assumptions.
The article begins with contextualising the Russian Empire’s many-fold presence in Persia at the fin de siècle and the condition of Russia’s Persian studies therein. As the results of undertaken archival research support, Russia’s ‘Iranists’ quite often had a crucial impact on the course of international affairs, securing and extending the sphere of Russian imperial influence not only in the Greater Persianate World but also directly affecting the peripeteia of European politics. Thus the article explores Vladimir Minorsky’s early scholarly and professional career as a budding diplomat of Imperial Russia and focuses on his participation in the 1913-1914 activities of the Russo-Brito-Turko-Iranian Quadripartite Boundary Commission, which, exactly one hundred years ago, drew almost 1200 miles of the Iranian present-day western frontier. Finally, the article reveals what implications the outcomes of these activities (whose inspirer was mainly Minorsky) have had for Iran during these hundred years, particularly in relation to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war.
The paper draws on the conceptualisation of the interplay of power/knowledge relations, discourses, and institutional and personal interests. The study of Minorsky’s activities is carried out based on the unpublished materials derived from his private diaries and the testimonies of the British officers who were members of the Commission.
Orientalism can be defined as a historical and cultural event, which has been uniting various aspects of cultural life for a number of centuries—literature, fine art, architecture, music and philosophy. A "vision" of the East—positive or negative—based on imagination or historic facts, it has generated an exotic image in our consciousness, which has its own right to existence. At a crucial and timely moment in the history of relations between the West and Islam, this book provides the context and essential background to understanding this part of the world and the intense debate on this theme. The art-biographer of the XVIII-century Ottoman Empire Franco-Flemish artist Jean Baptiste Vanmour (1671–1737) left a very important legacy—pictorial evidences which can be considered as historical illustrations of all the aspects of XVIII-century Ottoman life: from diplomatic ceremonies in the Ottoman court to everyday events of Istanbul multinational society. It will be of strong interest to scholars of Middle East studies, anthropology, history, cultural studies, post-colonial studies, and literary studies.
This article presents a critical analysis of the Danish press coverage of the referendum called by the Left-led coalition government of Greece in July 2015, concerning the future of austerity policies. It focuses on the conservative daily press of Denmark, one of the ‘core’ EU countries, writing on developments in the periphery. Three main themes emerge in the study’s discourse analysis of Berlingske Tidende’s and Jyllands Posten’s coverage: ‘post-democratic realism’, ‘the upper-class gaze’, and ‘Orientalism and cultural racism’. The authors not only reveal the one-sided, elitist coverage by the rightwing papers at Europe’s centre but also point out how the principles of neoliberalism itself and the acceptance of austerity are being constantly reinforced by the media in a country like Denmark, which had previously been marked out for its more progressive welfare capitalism. Denmark’s turn to the Right (and to racism) alongside its biased coverage of the ‘Greferendum’ are examined here in the context of the way in which neoliberalism and its politico-social effects are now presented as both common sense and the only way forward.
This article examines subjects and decorative sources of orientalism inRussian porcelain ofthe 18th and 19th centuries. It seems important to single out stages ofthe incremental development of orientalist motifs in Russian porcelain and describe their evolution. Additionally, the authors aim to clarify why orientalist motifs were chosen by porcelain collectors and buyers and what role they played in arts and crafts in Russian Empire at different times. The article presents a consistent analysis ofthe evolution of orientalist motifs in 18th–19th centuries Russian porcelain. This study employs methods of formal and stylistic analysis. The use of these methods allows the authors to study the stylistic origins of orientalist motifs answering the question regarding the framework of its stylistic tradition and why a fashion emerged for the motifs described in this research. Furthermore, the researchers use the historical-genetic method trying to trace the emergence and development of the phenomenon of orientalist motifs on the basis of literature, historical sources, and porcelain objects. By applying methods of historical analysis and cultural analysis, this paper investigates and highlights the historical background of the emergence and development of orientalist motifs in Russian porcelain. Additionally, these methods are appropriate to understand how the taste preferences of customers of porcelain in the Russian Empire between the second half ofthe 18th and the 19th centuries influenced the stylistic formation of orientalist motifs.
A major international conference, “Orientalism / Occi dentalism: The Languages of Cultures vs. the Languages of Description”, took place from September 23–25, 2010, in Moscow under the aegis of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research. The goal of the Conference was to discuss the principal aspects of description of the East (fi rst of all Asian but also African cultures) in the Western scholarly discourse as well as in art and literature. The idea of the Conference belonged to the current author who, in the Fall of 2008, enlisted the support of Prof. Kirill Razlogov, Director of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research, as a result of which the Institute played a crucial role in the following two-year preparations
One of the most popular travel destinations among nobles, wealthy merchants, travellers and diplomats during the sixteenth century was the world of the Ottoman Empire, as European–Ottoman relations pervaded the centuries, combining cultural, political and economic interests. So there was increasing demand for pictorial as well as written records of life in the Ottoman world. Travellers and diplomats commissioned artists as an essential part of their duty to bring back to their countries as much information as possible on all things Turkish. One such record is an album dated 1590 and commissioned by Bartholomäus Schachman, mayor of Danzig (Gdan´sk), traveller and explorer, art patron and collector, benefactor and connoisseur. His journey through the Ottoman Empire lasted two years (1588–89), and his album, conveying the tale of his adventures, became one of the greatest travelogues of the sixteenth century.
The hegemonic framing of the ‘Greek crisis’, launched by leading liberal and conservative politicians in the European Union (EU) and elsewhere and followed by mass media, reflected deep Western racial prejudices towards the periphery, and stressed typical bourgeois values affirming hard work, while publicly asserting regimes of entitlement to citizenship, welfare and consumption. The article presents a class-oriented analysis of the ‘Greek crisis’ discursive construction in North-Western European media, by studying articles published between 2010 and 2015 in four newspapers from Germany and Denmark. The analysis shows that, along with cultural ones, upper/ middle-class biases are publicly expressed through articulations of ridicule, contempt and resentment, three interrelated ‘affective modalities’ connected to essentialist binary constructions of the (Western/ European) self and the (non-Western/European) Other. Thus, the bourgeois ideology is crucial in reproducing depoliticized frames of economic crisis, to pursue neoliberal crisis-reforms (such as various regimes of austerity and labour deregulation). The production and affirmation of middle-class subjectivities, is crucial for the organic advance of neoliberal reforms in society, while denying the advancing of working – class identifications and solidarities in the highly uncertain times of today.