For decades, Central Asia, Siberia, and the Far East held a subordinate role in the economic history of the Russian Empire. Whenever questions arose regarding the connection between imperial expansion, presence in the Asiatic peripheries, and economic significance, the focus remained largely centered on the viewpoints and rationale of the imperial core. However, the non-European parts of the empire were often referred to as resource peripheries or colonies. This scarce attention paid to the economic history of Central Asia, the Far East, and — to a lesser extent — Siberia is striking. Meanwhile, an examination of the Asiatic peripheries reveals complex dynamics deriving from the considerable variability of economic practices and hybrid economic systems. Consequently, the study of peripheries as areas of economic interdependence and competition in a comparative perspective serves as a point of departure for our workshop.
Recognizing the significance of investigating capitalisms in border regions like (post-)imperial Siberia and Central Asia is imperative. The (post-)imperial landscape of these borderlands, characterized by the continuity of actors and institutions transitioning from one political system to another, presents an opportunity for reevaluating the intricacies of the imperial Russian and early Soviet economic practices. This perspective not only enables a nuanced understanding of the interplay among diverse forms of capitalism that flourished within the Russian Empire but also facilitates tracing of their enduring impacts within the Soviet borderlands.
To address these issues, our workshop endeavors to offer new perspectives on the entanglements of economic policies and social practices within the (post-)imperial and global contexts. By illuminating the broader implications of borderland capitalisms in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, we will enhance our understanding of how transregional economic connectivities emerged and operated, transcending the confines of traditional centers of power. Central to our discussions will be the examination of the interplay between state-funded visions of economic development and unfolding processes at the grass-roots level during the Russian Empire while also exploring the (dis-)continuities that came to the fore in the Soviet Union. By reestablishing the historical connections between the Asiatic borderlands of the Russian Empire and the USSR through the critical lens of contested capitalisms, our objective is to generate fresh scholarly impulses and contribute to the understanding of economic territoriality, environmental issues, and (post-)imperial legacies.
We invite researchers from all disciplines to submit a short bio and an abstract of 250 words addressing – but not limited to – the following topics by November 12, 2023:
- Borderland encounters and economic practices
- Transnational (trans-imperial) economic transfers
- Local agency in economic development
- Human-nature relations in the (post-)imperial context
- Contested resources and industrial environments
- Knowledge production and cross-border trade exchange
- Imperial legacies in Asiatic peripheries
- Economic networks and actors in transregional contexts
- Visions of economic territoriality
- Legal frameworks and ethical considerations in economic practices
The workshop will take place as an in-person event in Berlin with a hybrid option for participants from outside Europe. Early career researchers are especially encouraged to apply.
Limited funding for travel expenses and accommodation will be available. Selected papers from the workshop will be considered for publication in a special forum of “Ab Imperio”.
Please send your abstracts to Ruslana Bovhyria email@example.com and Aleksandr Korobeinikov firstname.lastname@example.org.