Alexander Semyonov will discuss "Breakup of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union: Similarities, Dissimilarities or a Continuum of Imperial Transformations."
This talk addresses the tectonic shift in thinking about empire and nation in contemporary historical writing and, in particular, the critique of the teleological assumption of ubiquitous transition from empire to nation-state as the vector of modern history. The talk summarizes the recent literature on the problem of diversity in the moment of breakup of the Russian empire and Soviet Union, advances diachronic comparison of two historical events, and suggests an alternative framework of imperial transformation that captures the horizons of expectations of political actors during the reform processes in the Russian empire and Soviet Union and the persistence of the problem of diversity in the post-imperial political arrangements.
Semyonov is a historian of modern Russian history, his research interests include political and intellectual history, history of empire and nationalism. He is also interested in the emerging field of global history and dialogue between new imperial history and global history. He has published on the intellectual and political history of Russian liberalism and liberal imperialism, the history of political reforms and revolutions, the first Russian parliament in the early twentieth century and the history of Russian social sciences and their global connections. Since 2000, he has been a co-founding member of the editorial board of Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space.
The talk is sponsored by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series at Amherst College and the Lucius Root Eastman 1895 Fund at Amherst College.