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Dr Julia Leikin

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


01392 725618

A historian of imperial Russia and modern Europe, I work on Russia’s understanding and practice of international law. As a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow I will develop my current book project, In the Spirit of the Laws: The Russian Empire in the International Order, 1700-1856, which brings together my wide academic interests in the history of international law and international relations, maritime legal culture, and comparative early-modern empires. The monograph explores three themes: the social significance of the law of nations in the Russian Empire and its relationship to power; the influence of local officials and community voices on the formulation of imperial policy; and, the Russian-Ottoman maritime frontier in the Mediterranean and Black Seas as the place where the distinctiveness of Russian legal practice emerged. My first major article on this topic is “‘The Prostitution of the Russian Flag’: Privateers in Russian Admiralty Courts, 1787-1798,” Law and History Review (November 2017). 

Before coming to Exeter, I received a Hakluyt Society research award to work on John Elphinstone's Narrative of the Russian Expedition by Sea in the Years 1769 & 1770. Elphinstone’s original narrative contains descriptions of his voyage to and movements across the Eastern Mediterranean with the imperial Russian navy as well as a detailed first-hand account of the famous Battle of Çeşme. An annotated Russian translation (co-edited with E. B. Smilianskaia) of this text was published in Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie's Archivalia Rossica series in 2020. A critical English edition with our introduction and comments will follow as a Hakluyt Society volume.

Together with the other historians of Russia in the department (Matt Rendle, Claire McCallum, and Rachel Lin), I run a small reading group and kruzhok for Russian History.