Scholarship on Russia is skewed towards recent history and a Eurocentric perspective. It focuses largely on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and measures Russia in terms of its relations with the ‘West’. Both of these tendencies obscure the recognition of continuities and ruptures across the epochal boundary of the eighteenth century and the importance of Asia for Russia’s history. The new network aims to pool expertise on the pre-modern period in East European history in order to strengthen and increase the visibility of this area of research. The goal is to broaden the focus of early modern studies by integrating the history of Russia into the transnational (or transimperial) and transcultural history of Eurasia. At the core of this initiative is the question of what significance the epochal changes of the pre-modern period have for our current understanding of Russia in the modern world.
The idea of establishing this network arose from the challenges connected with the low level of formal institutional support in German and western European universities for research into this time period and for trans-Eurasian perspectives. Such an academic network promotes scholarly communication and exchange of knowledge and ultimately, we hope, will facilitate the development of new research perspectives and projects on the history of Russia in the pre-modern period.
We welcome proposals from historians and scholars from related disciplines and area studies (for example, Sinology) who are working on the (entangled) history of Russia in the pre-modern period. Of particular interest are contributions that explore the potential of new directions for research into this topic. Please send us short abstracts (ca. 500 words) that will serve as the basis for a 30-minute presentation. The conference will be held in English, but the proposals may be submitted in English, Russian, or German. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the Professorship for the History of East-Central Europe and Russia in Early Modern Times at LMU Munich. The publication of a special issue of a journal is planned.