Against the Last Bastion of the West-centric Master Narrative

in Russian History
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This review discusses Reimagining Europe by Christian Raffensperger in the context of the evolution of academic history writing during the past few decades. It notes relations between the current political agendas and historical interpretations of the seemingly distant past exemplified by influence that modern perceptions of Russia and Ukraine exert on representations of their medieval “ancestor,” and it argues that marginal status of Rus’ in general medieval histories is the last survival of a discourse of Western European superiority. The review supports Raffensperger’s call to “reimagine” medieval Europe in such a way as to make Rus’ its integral part.

Against the Last Bastion of the West-centric Master Narrative

in Russian History



Le GoffThe Birth of Europe204 206 209.


Dimitri ObolynskyThe Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe 500–1453 (New York: Praeger Publishers1971).


Krijnie N. CiggaarWestern Travellers to Constantinople: The West and Byzantium 962–1204; Cultural and Political Relations (Leiden: Brill1996) 354 as quoted in Raffensperger Reimagining Europe 14.


Moore“Medieval Europe in World History” 563–4.


Moore“Medieval Europe in World History” 567–8.


Moore“Medieval Europe in World History,” 575, with reference to R. I. Moore, “The Eleventh Century in Eurasian History,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 33 (2003): 3–21. Byzantium and Islam are not discussed in the “Medieval Europe in World History” but they are mentioned in “The Eleventh Century.”


Moore“The Eleventh Century in Eurasian History” 6.


Simon Franklin“The Empire of the Rhomaioi as Viewed from Kievan Russia: Aspects of Byzantino-Russian Cultural Relations,” Byzantion 53 (1983): 507–37at 519.


Moore“Medieval Europe in World History” 568.


 E.g. Le GoffThe Birth of Europe42–5 91–3 149 182–4.


Hunt et al.The Making of the West402–3.


NazarenkoDrevniaia Rus’ na mezhdunarodnykh putiakh617–48.


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