A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin

A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin

A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin

A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin

Synopsis

This collected volume, edited by Ron Suny and Terry Martin, shows how the Soviet state managed to create a multiethnic empire in its early years, from the end of the Russian Revolution to the end of World War II. Bringing together the newest research on a wide geographic range, from Russia to Central Asia, this volume is essential reading for students and scholars of Soviet history and politics.

Excerpt

A casual conversation between the editors, waiting for an elevator in Cologne in June 1995, led to plans to bring together the growing number of scholars working on nation formation and state policies in the first decades of Soviet power. Terry Martin, then a graduate student at the University of Chicago, and Ron Suny, newly appointed professor of political science, organized a conference in the modest setting of Wilder House on the Chicago campus in October 1997. the Gorbachev reforms and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union had created an unprecedented opportunity for scholars to do archival research into questions on which information had previously not been accessible. Not only were the resources of the central party and the state archives exploited, but historians also combed regional and republic archives to come up with new stories of how the Soviet state managed the cultural, social, and political development of more than one hundred different ethnic populations. the conference and this volume are the fruits of that research, the first efforts to rewrite the multinational history of the first state to found its federation on the basis of territorialized nationality. How an anti-imperial enterprise aimed at the emancipation of nations metamorphosed into an empire of national states is the central theme of this book.

Funding for the conference came from the Council on Advanced Studies on Peace and International Cooperation (CASPIC), whose chairman at the time was David D. Laitin. Besides the participants in this volume, other scholars participated in the three days of intense discussion: Mark Beissinger, John Bushnell, Prasenjit Duara, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Michael Geyer, Francine Hirsch, Hiroaki Kuromiya, Michael Khodarkovsky, David Laitin, Volodymyr Pristaiko, Yuri Shapoval, and Amir Weiner. the editors are deeply grateful to the funders, to the paper givers, and to the commentators whose contributions made possible this collective effort. the unique setting of the University of Chicago, with its special commitment to the life of the mind, the graduate students who also attended and . . .

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