This article pursues the goal of going beyond Saidian notions of Orientalism and Said’s assumption of the “complicity of knowledge with power” to reach back to Foucault’s initial postulates on the role of institutions and the intellectual in the inter-play of power/knowledge relations. The article concentrates on the role of Russian military Oriental studies institutions and orientologists in the context of discourses (the promotion of Russkoe Delo, the juxtaposition of Russia with the West and the Orient, etc.) that existed in late Imperial Russia and influenced the accumulation and development of scholarly knowledge on the Orient. Therefore, the significant contribution of the military domain to Russian Oriental studies on both the institutional and individual levels will be examined from the angle of intra-Russian discourses in the period from the establishment of the Asiatic Section of the General Staff in 1863 up to 1917.
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 Drawing on previously unpublished and recently declassified sources which change the established wisdom on many aspects of the history of Russia and Iran, Denis V. Volkov examines this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.
In late imperial Russia, the political elite became more complicated due to the inclusion of the State Duma deputies and the elected members of the State Council in its membership. The paper is focused on studying the deputies of the Fourth Duma with the repeated parliamentary status, who constituted a distinct sub-elite group. The general description of the group is given, including the number of deputies, and the deputies' motives for participation in elections to the Duma. The authors evaluated the influence of the group on parliamentary activity on the base of positional analysis. Due to correlation analysis and faceted classification, socio-cultural types within the parliamentary subelite were identified. The study showed that the cohort of deputies with a repetitive parliamentary status was more homogeneous in terms of socio-cultural characteristics than the cohort of newly elected deputies. Significant differences in the socio-cultural appearance of those groups were determined by class, level of education and preparliamentary professions related to intellectual work.
At the turn of the twentieth century and especially during the interwar period, Jews served as an important litmus test for modernization projects aimed at restoring, establishing, and standardizing pure forms of groupness, such as nation-state, postimperial racial homogenization, or class-based society. The article considers the racialization of Jews by Jewish intellectuals themselves in three different contexts: in the United States, late Imperial Russia, and the early Soviet Union. The "Boasian revolution" took place in the Progressive Era United States, in the context of rising anti-immigrant sentiment and panic about the "pollution" of American society by the influx of East Europeans. The 1911 study of Jewish immigrants by the anthropologist Franz Boas relativized the notion of race in order to rehabilitate the idea of America as a melting pot and prove that Jews could assimilate into a modern society. In Eastern Europe and particularly in the Russian Empire during the interrevolutionary period and in the early USSR, Boas's ideas and methods were picked up and developed to prove the reality of Jews as a particular race. Self-racialization became an effective anticolonial strategy of a nonterritorial nation whose representatives rejected the perspective of becoming a "secondhand" minority or integrating into Soviet modernity exclusively on Soviet terms. Ultimately, the article raises the issue of functionality of the language of race in different early twentieth-century projects of Jewish modernity.
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.