Battles of the First World War were accompanied by what was the first full-scale war of words in European history. It was aimed at influencing the public opinion abroad as well as at mobilizing the population at home. Leading intellectuals, including famous scholars, participated in propaganda campaigns waged by the belligerent nations. This text focuses on the discussions between philosophers
involved in the international conflict.
“Empire Speaks Out” is a result of the collaborative international research project whose participants aim to reconstruct the origin, development, and changing modes of self-description and representation of the heterogeneous political, social, and cultural space of the Russian Empire. The collection offers an alternative to the study of empire as an essentialized historical phenomenon, i.e. to those studies that construe empire retrospectively by projecting the categories of modern nation-centered social sciences onto the imperial past. It stresses dynamic transformations, adaptation, and reproduction of imperial patterns of sociability and governance. Chapters of the collection show how languages of rationalization derived from modern public politics, scientific discourses of applied knowledge (law, sociology, political economy, geography, ethnography, physical anthropology) and social self-organization influenced processes of transformation of the imperial space.
The chapter is focused on exploration of the politics of comparison as it was practiced by the ideologues of the Russian Empire and imperialism at the beginning of the twentieth century. Special attention is given to the transfer of operative ideological frameworks from the British empire to the Russian context.