The Romanov Empire and Nationalism: Essays in the Methodology of Historical Research

The Romanov Empire and Nationalism: Essays in the Methodology of Historical Research

The Romanov Empire and Nationalism: Essays in the Methodology of Historical Research

The Romanov Empire and Nationalism: Essays in the Methodology of Historical Research

Synopsis

"Bringing empire back is an important change in the new approach to the history of nationalism in general. We can observe this trend not only in the history of the Russian Empire. The history of empire as the history of interaction of multiple agents, as a field where alternative strategies of identification and alternative nation-building projects competed - often with unpredictable results - is by definition hostile to all sorts of national narratives, which invariably focus on a single actor, that is, a particular national movement. It is exactly the focus on the interactions of multiple agents, that is concerned with loyalties, identity formation and nationalist agenda with their possible alternative outcomes that allows the student to grasp the fabric of imperial history."

Excerpt

This is, to an extent, an unexpected book. Since the publication of my book The Ukrainian Question: the Russian Empire and Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century in 2000, I have continued to deal with the issues of empire and nationalism, this time without a hard link to the Ukrainian question. My attention has been focused to a greater extent on the issues of Russian nationalism and on the way the imperial context, including interactions between empires, influenced nation-making processes.

The articles I wrote during this period were not originally intended as chapters of a future book. One day, however, György Péteri, my colleague at Collegium Budapest in 2002, asked me about the title of the book whose chapters I had shown him. I am grateful to him for the idea, but I do not hold him responsible for the consequences.

The previous articles have turned into mere raw material for this book, and the traditional statement that all of them have been significantly revised and/or supplemented in this case should be taken at face value. It can be said that the book continued to change as my studies progressed. the English language version that the reader holds in his hands is quite different from the Russian original published in 2006. a new chapter, on S. S. Uvarov and the early stages of relations between the empire and Russian nationalism, has been added. the chapter on language policies has been changed significantly, largely thanks to my collaboration with Oksana Ostapchuk. the Conclusion looks different too. Other chapters have undergone less radical alterations.

The book is less solidly united by a single subject than is usual for a monograph, which permits additions without damage to its structure while at the same time constituting something more integral than a collection of separate articles.

The book does contain narrative fragments, including those based on previously unused archival material. However, they do have a supporting function. the focus of the book is the methodological questions we face in studying the history of nationalism in the Russian empire.

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