History and Archeology
Chapters gathered in Syriac Hagiography: Texts and Beyond explore a wide range of Syriac hagiographical works, while following two complementary methodological approaches, i.e. literary and cultic, or formal and functional. Grouped into three main sections, these contributions reflect three interrelated ways in which we can read Syriac hagiography and further grasp its characteristics: “Texts as Literature” seeks to unfold the mechanisms of their literary composition; “Saints Textualized” offers a different perspective on the role played by hagiographical texts in the invention and/or maintenance of the cult of a particular saint or group of saints; “Beyond the Texts” presents cases in which the historical reality behind the nexus of hagiographical texts and veneration of saints can be observed in greater details.
In Memory and Identity in the Syriac Cave of Treasures: Rewriting the Bible in Sasanian Iran Sergey Minov examines literary and socio-cultural aspects of the Syriac pseudepigraphic composition known as the Cave of Treasures, which offers a peculiar version of the Christian history of salvation. The book fills a lacuna in the history of Syriac Christian literary creativity by contextualising this unique work within the cultural and religious situation of Sasanian Mesopotamia towards the end of Late Antiquity. The author analyses the Cave’s content and message from the perspective of identity theory and memory studies, while discussing its author’s emphatically polemical stand vis-à-vis Judaism, the ambivalent way in which he deals with Iranian culture, and the promotion in this work of a distinctively Syriac-oriented vision of the biblical past.
This issue of the Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik is comprising the full papers of the international symposium on Gothic language, history and culture “The Goths Compared: East Germanic communities between Balticum, Pontus and the West” which was held on November 5–6, 2019 at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (hse) in Moscow. The symposium was organised by the Centre for Medieval Studies, HSE.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of Yiddish speaking immigrants actively participated in the American Socialist and labor movement. They formed the milieu of the hugely successful daily Forverts (Forward), established in New York in April 1897. Its editorial columns and bylined articles—many of whose authors, such as Abraham Cahan and Sholem Asch, were household names at the time—both reflected and shaped the attitudes and values of the readership. Most pages of this book are focused on the newspaper’s reaction to the political developments in the home country. Profound admiration of Russian literature and culture did not mitigate the writers’ criticism of the czarist and Soviet regimes.
This book presents a novel and innovative approach to the study of social evolution using case studies from the Old and the New World, from prehistory to the present. This approach is based on examining social evolution through the evolution of social institutions. Evolution is defined as the process of structural change. Within this framework the society, or culture, is seen as a system composed of a vast number of social institutions that are constantly interacting and changing. As a result, the structure of society as a whole is also evolving and changing.
The authors posit that the combination of evolving social institutions explains the non-linear character of social evolution and that every society develops along its own pathway and pace. Within this framework, society should be seen as the result of the compound effect of the interactions of social institutions specific to it. Further, the transformation of social institutions and relations between them is taking place not only within individual societies but also globally, as institutions may be trans-societal, and even institutions that operate in one society can arise as a reaction to trans-societal trends and demands.
The book argues that it may be more productive to look at institutions even within a given society as being parts of trans-societal systems of institutions since, despite their interconnectedness, societies still have boundaries, which their members usually know and respect. Accordingly, the book is a must-read for researchers and scholars in various disciplines who are interested in a better understanding of the origins, history, successes and failures of social institutions.
“Catherine the Great: A Reference Guide to Her Life and Works has an extensive A to Z section which includes several hundred entries. The bibliography provides a comprehensive list of publications concerning her life and work”
How do local leaders govern in a large dictatorship? What resources do they draw on? Yoram Gorlizki and Oleg Khlevniuk examine these questions by looking at one of the most important authoritarian regimes of the twentieth century. Starting in the early years after the Second World War and taking the story through to the 1970s, they chart the strategies of Soviet regional leaders, paying particular attention to the forging and evolution of local trust networks.
This book explores Russia’s efforts towards both adapting to and shaping a world in transformation. Russia has been largely marginalized in the post-Cold War era and has struggled to find its place in the world, which means that the chaotic changes in the world present Russia with both threats and opportunities. The rapid shift in the international distribution of power and emergence of a multipolar world disrupts the existing order, although it also enables Russia to diversify it partnerships and restore balance. Adapting to these changes involves restructuring its economy and evolving the foreign policy. The crises in liberalism, environmental degradation, and challenge to state sovereignty undermine political and economic stability while also widening Russia’s room for diplomatic maneuvering. This book analyzes how Russia interprets these developments and its ability to implement the appropriate responses.
This is the third book in a series on Medieval Novgorod and its surroundings and deals with a substantial body of animal bones that have been recovered over the last decade. The zooarchaeological evidence is discussed by the editor and a number of English and Russian specialists who dug the site, looking at domestic exploitation of animals, diet, animal husbandry, and butchery practices. Detailed data sets are provided to enable the reader to make comparisons with their own research, but the book is also suitable for those with a more general interest in Medieval Russian archaeology.
This volume arises from the international conference 'Hymns of the First Christian Millennium — Doctrinal, Devotional, and Musical Patterns' held in June 2014 at the Institute of Classical Studies in conjunction with King's College London. The original scope of the conference has been re-scaled to focus particularly on late antique Christian devotion as it manifests itself in hymns; experts on a variety of topics of early Christian hymnody have been invited to boost both specificity and depth of discussion in the proposed volume. The resulting collection of papers covers a range of aspects of literary, social, doctrinal, musicological, and devotional patterns of Christian hymnic texts, their liturgical and pious use in the period of late antiquity.
The Short Course on the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) defined Stalinist ideology both at home and abroad. It was quite literally the the master narrative of the USSR—a hegemonic statement on history, politics, and Marxism-Leninism that scripted Soviet society for a generation. This study exposes the enormous role that Stalin played in the development of this all-important text, as well as the unparalleled influence that he wielded over the Soviet historical imagination.
The book is the collection of articles on the crisis in Russo-Austrian relations in early 18th century due to the case of tzarevich Alexis Petrovich. New archival materials as well as new interpretations of the corresponding events are presented.
As a tribute to their academic teacher and to further his interests, the students of Prof. Dr. Laurent Waelkens collected fifteen scholarly contributions on ius commune graeco-romanum, written by academics from eleven different countries, mainly but not exclusively from Eastern Europe. The book consists of three main parts. In the first part, four authors focus on the Graeco-Roman law in the Roman Empire itself. In the second part, five contributions concern the influence of Graeco-Roman law outside of the Byzantine Empire. The six contributions of the third and final part study the impact of the Western ius commune tradition on Eastern European countries. Thus, the volume highlights the continued importance of the study of Roman law for the understanding of our common pan-European legal heritage.
In America today, two communities with sub-Saharan African genetic origins exist side by side, though they have differing histories and positions within society. This book explores the relationship between African Americans, descendants of those Africans brought to America as slaves, and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who have come to the United States of America voluntarily, mainly since the 1990s. Members of these groups have both a great deal in common and much that separates them, largely hidden in their assumptions about, and attitudes towards, each other. In a work grounded in extensive fieldwork Bondarenko and his research team interviewed African Americans, and migrants from twenty-three African States and five Caribbean nations, as well as non-black Americans involved with African Americans and African migrants. Seeking a wide range of perspectives, from different ages, classes and levels of education, they explored the historically rooted mutual images of African Americans and contemporary African migrants, so as to understand how these images influence the relationship between them. In particular, they examined conceptions of ‘black history’ as a common history of all people and nations with roots in Africa. What emerges is a complex picture. While collective historical memory of oppression forges solidarity, lack of knowledge of each other’s history can create distance between communities. African migrants tend to define their identities not by race, but on the basis of multiple layers of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic affinities (of which African Americans are often unaware). For African Americans, however, although national and regional identities are important, it is above all race that is the defining factor. While drawing on wider themes from anthropology and African studies, this in-depth study on a little-researched subject allows valuable new understandings of contemporary American society.
Contributors to this volume discuss a variety of ways the African past (African history) influences the present-day of Africans on the continent and in diaspora: cultural (historical) memory as a factor of public (mass) consciousness; the impact of the historical past on contemporary political, social, and cultural processes in Africa and African diaspora.
This volume is an output of a research project implemented as part of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE).
This book is based on the collection of articles centered around Russia and its policies. The articles are grouped under three parts. The first part contains articles on international relations, Russian foreign policy, and the situation in the world. The main themes they cover include Russian policy in Asia and the Eurasian integration — in which Moscow plays the most active role.
The second part looks at the theorization of Russia’s internal processes, issues concerning reforms to the communist system, its troubled transition from Communism, and analysis of the country’s current political regime. While elaborating on various reforms and transition from the communist system, the author has suggested certain alternatives concepts. Many of the articles analyze the shortcomings and inconsistencies of the modern Russian political system.
The third part is devoted to current issues in Russian politics, the democratization process, growing authoritarian tendencies, mass protests, and that evaluate the programs and policies of individual leaders. The book will be of interest to those specializing in Russian foreign and domestic policy as well as to all those interested in following the developments of this country, its role in the world, and the global situation in general.
The aim of the edition is to establish general narratives for the Alexandrine Age, not so much from the traditional vantage point of the emperor and his inner circle but from the point of view of experts and elites, especially the local ones, who perceived the empire a laboratory. These “men on the spot,” whether officially sanctioned by the state or independently of it, drafted “maps” of the empire and its collective subjects, constructed social political and economic imaginaries of the empire. Actors, who envisioned the functioned of the state and imagined its future, doing it also in comparison and in entanglement with other states in Europe. Therefore, individual experts like local doctors, legal scholars, practical jurists, and amateur scientists would be considered alongside with collective actors such as the Decembrists and the members of the so-called “conservative elite” and other networks.
Following the German invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941, murderous violence against local Jews broke out in many localities of the territories it had occupied in the wake of the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. In particular, organizers demanded revenge for the recent Stalinist repressions and deportations. Participants claimed that the “Jewish Soviet state,” the “Jewish NKVD,” or local Jews had been responsible for those crimes. Even now, the legend of prewar Jewish responsibility figures in the dubious “double genocide” thesis animating nationalistic historiographies in Eastern Europe and its international diasporas. The following study counters that mythology, addressing the story of actual Jews in the NKVD at the end of the 1930s. It draws on the archives of the Ukrainian security services, especially records that document Stalin’s effort to divert blame for the recent Great Terror onto senior and mid-level officials. Stalin’s green light to criticize the bosses gave other NKVD officers the opportunity to address many issues, including that of antisemitism among NKVD cadres. These sources suggest that antisemitism was in fact a potent force within the NKVD in Ukraine and elsewhere.
The author summarizes evidence of large professional armies in the service of the rulers of early medieval polities in Northern and Eastern Europe. Following František Graus, the author refers to that institution as “grand retinue” (Czech velkodružina, German Staatsgefolge). The rulers maintained these troops mainly by paying in cash collected as tribute from the populace. The late 10th-early 11th-century Poland and the “North Sea Empire” of Cnut the Great (1016-1035) provide the most compelling evidence on the grand retinue. In the 10-11th centuries Rus’, the princes also had armies of military servants, referred to as otroki (a Slavic word) or – more specifically – grid’ (term borrowed from Old Norse). Such troops played a major role during the emergence of the centralized political framework, but have disappeared or degenerated as early as the 12th century. Rus’ian records describe them as prosperous in the 11th century and show their decline during the 12-13th centuries. I interpret the Rus’ian “grand retinue” as an institution based on Scandinavian models, a result of the “transfer of knowledge” that occurred in Northern and Eastern Europe during the 10-11th centuries.
This paper presents the first findings of a research investigation into understudied aspects of the touristic use of St. Petersburg’s cultural heritage, notably the development of the ‘Maritime Capital of Russia’ as a tourist brand. We argue that the effectiveness of this imaginary ‘Maritime City’ entails a complex approach based on the concept of ‘Maritimity’. Through this perspective we consider the numerous maritime heritage sites of the city as a dynamic playground for the cultural play of heritage consumption. Using guidebooks as a key historical source, we demonstrate how and why touristic representations of St. Petersburg’s maritime past have been transformed, and explore the link between the general development of the country between 1980 and 2003 and the maritime element in the vision of St. Petersburg as a tourist destination.
Daily legal practice in local centers of Muscovite Rus’ before the publication of the Law Code of 1649 (Sobornoe Ulozhenie) has been poorly studied. This article uses comparative analysis to study two groups of sources about the legal process and law enforcement in Novgorod the Great in the late 16th–early 17th centuries. The analysis illuminates a complicated hierarchy of legal levels. At the same time, the competences of the courts at each level were not always clearly defined, which corresponds to the ideas formulated by N.S. Kollmann in her study on crime and punishment in Muscovy. In the late 16th–early 17th centuries, the Novgorod Court Chancellery was a middle level of the judicial system. The highest instance was the court in Moscow, which passed judgment on behalf of the tsar and was provided by central chancelleries in the Kremlin. During the Time of Troubles, the hierarchy became simpler: the communication with Moscow disappeared and only two levels prevailed in Novgorod. The city administrator’s court (voevoda) dealt with political crimes and landowners’ disputes, while the City Court and other lower level courts dealt with civil and petty criminal cases. The courts were ruled by both codes and customary law: the existing law codes (Sudebniki) did not cover all the diversity of legal cases.
This article is the first in existing scholarship to examine Peter the Great’s famous decree on the taxation of beards from an economic perspective. Through an analysis of the decree in conjunction with other aspects of Russian state financial policy at the beginning of the eighteenth century, it argues that Peter had counted on this tax to replenish the Treasury at a critical moment when state resources were on the brink of complete exhaustion as a result of the gruelling Northern War with Sweden combined with a twofold drop in the value of the rouble. Based on new archival evidence, the study demonstrates the untenability of this policy, on the one hand due to Peter and his advisors’ over-optimistic assumptions about the prosperity of their Russian subjects (the beard tax was unreasonably high), and on the other, because the government overestimated their administrative capacity to implement the decree throughout the realm without provoking resistance.
The article examines the population exchange between Poland and Soviet Union in 1944-1946, its role in the shaping of modern Ukraine, and its place in the evolution of the Soviet nationality policy. Based on archival sources this article examines the factors involved in the decision making of individuals and state officials and then assesses how people on the ground made sense of the Soviet population politics. While much of the earlier scholarship saw the transfer as a punitive national deportation, the argument of the article is that most of the time it was neither punitive nor purely national nor deportation. Contrary to the historiographical thesis about the Soviet transition from class to ethnic categories in its rule, the article shows that during the population exchange the Soviet party-state continued to view the society in class terms and frequently prioritized economy over concerns with national homogeneity.
This volume publishes materials of the International Conference (Humboldt-Kolleg) “Contact zones of Europe from the 3rd mill. BC to the 1st mill. AD” which was held at the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow from the 29th of September to the 2nd of October 2017, with the financial support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Russian Science Foundation
The author proposes an approach to determine self-identities, boundaries, internal political organization and foreign relations of ancient societies using materials of burials of élites in the lack of representative written sources.
Review of the book MARK EDELE, SHEILA FITZPATRICK, andATINA GROSSMANN, editors. Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 2017.