Imperial Russia Engages the World, 1700-1917 (HIH1037)
This module will explore themes and events in imperial Russia’s interactions with other states and empires roughly from 1700 to 1917 from a historical perspective. The module introduces a range of transnational interactions – ceremonial, commercial, religious, and diplomatic – that constituted Russia’s relations with other states. Of course, these interactions also included wars. In our study of conflicts, we will try to uncover the relationship between war, society, and culture rather than focusing on battlefield tactics. The module utilizes a wide variety of primary sources – such as political tracts, pamphlets, petitions, letters, geographical and travel narratives, memoirs, legal treatises, treaties, visual representations, material objects, administrative records, and government documents – to address key problems, including the role of normative orders such as the law of nations, humanitarianism, and religion in motivating Russia’s actions; the agency of particular actors – peasants, merchants, explorers, migrants – in shaping foreign politics; the value and limits of concepts such as “great power” and “balance of power” in understanding the international order; the relationship between the realms of foreign and domestic policy.