The Yardsticks by Which We Measure Rus

In: Russian History

The central question in the comparative history Rus has been its differential development vis-à-vis its western neighbours and the meaning and reasons for this difference. The recent publication by Donald Ostrowski, Europe, Byzantium, and the “Intellectual Silence” of Rus’ Culture, is a further contribution to this debate that revisits the reasons for a differential development between Rus and medieval Europe, focussing on the intellectual contributions of the Eastern Christian Church and Latin Church to their respective spheres of influence. Ostrowski’s book, along with other analogous studies, produces a regime of knowledge that shapes information about the intellectual history of Rus as diametrically opposed to that of medieval Europe. A postcolonial critique of the treatment of information about the emergence of Rus questions some of the ideas (or yardsticks) (re)produced here and suggests new critical ways to approach the study of early Rus.

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