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After the Soviet Empire

Legacies and Pathways

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Edited by Sven Eliaeson, Lyudmila Harutyunyan and Larissa Titarenko

The break-up of the Soviet Union is a key event of the twentieth century. The 39th IIS congress in Yerevan 2009 focused on causes and consequences of this event and on shifts in the world order that followed in its wake. This volume is an effort to chart these developments in empirical and conceptual terms. It has a focus on the lands of the former Soviet Union but also explores pathways and contexts in the Second World at large.
The Soviet Union was a full scale experiment in creating an alternative modernity. The implosion of this union gave rise to new states in search of national identity. At a time when some observers heralded the end of history, there was a rediscovery of historical legacies and a search for new paths of development across the former Second World.
In some parts of this world long-repressed legacies were rediscovered. They were sometimes, as in the case of countries in East Central Europe, built around memories of parliamentary democracy and its replacement by authoritarian rule during the interwar period. Some legacies referred to efforts at establishing statehood in the wake of the First World War, others to national upheavals in the nineteenth century and earlier.
In Central Asia and many parts of the Caucasus the cultural heritage of Islam in its different varieties gave rise to new markers of identity but also to violent contestations. In South Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have embarked upon distinctly different, but invariably contingent, paths of development. Analogously core components of the old union have gone through tumultuous, but until the last year and a half largely bloodless, transformations. The crystallization of divergent paths of development in the two largest republics of that union, i.e. Russia and Ukraine, has ushered in divergent national imaginations but also in series of bloody confrontations.

Edited by Sijmen Tol and René Genis

Within international linguistics, the study of Slavic languages enjoys considerable interest. The extensive coverage of Slavic languages in the Linguistic Bibliography is evidence of this. The Bibliography of Slavic Linguistics, 2000-2014 brings together the details of over 67,000 unique publications, carefully selected, classified, cross-referenced and indexed by professional bibliographers: it gives a complete overview of the field of studies since the beginning of this century. All contributing bibliographers are specialized Slavists themselves, guaranteeing the quality of the descriptions and annotations. The selection includes over thirty publication languages including publications in Finnish, Estonian, Greek, Albanian, Dutch, English, German, Japanese, Hebrew as well as other languages. Marc L. Greenberg’s Introduction gives an overview of the state of scholarship in Slavic linguistics and the directions in which the field is headed. The 3 volumes are thematically and geographically ordered in the sections General, Slavic, South Slavic, West Slavic and East Slavic. All references are classified according to a sophisticated classification scheme (over 100 subject classes), refined with an extensive language and subject keyword index.
Key features:
• Over 67,000 records;
• Covering all Slavic languages including minor and even extinct ones e.g. Bosnian, Pomeranian, Rusyn, High and Low Sorbian as well as Church Slavonic;
• Titles are given in their original languages, with translations provided whenever relevant;
• Titles in Cyrillic script are uniformly transcribed in Latin script according to current scientific standards.

Theory of Religious Cycles

Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith

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Mikhail Sergeev

In Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity and the Bahá’í Faith Mikhail Sergeev offers a new interpretation of the Soviet period of Russian history as a phase within the religious evolution of humankind by developing a theory of religious cycles, which he applies to modernity and to all the major world faiths of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Sergeev argues that in the course of its evolution religion passes through six common phases—formative, orthodox, classical, reformist, critical, and post-critical. Modernity, which was started by the European Enlightenment, represents the critical phase of Christianity, a systemic crisis that could be overcome with the appearance of new religious movements such as the Bahá’í Faith, which offers a spiritual extension of the modern worldview.

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Maija Jansson

In this study of Art and Diplomacy we see the relationship between renaissance design in decorated borders and the messages conveyed in the texts of royal letters from the English kings to Russia and rulers in the Far East. These are cases of art serving the Crown, with much of the early limning done by Edward Norgate, the English miniaturist. Printed here for the first time from Russian archives, this collection provides a continuum for the study of the limning of royal letters throughout the 17th century. The letters that the decoration enhances reveal the details of privileges and commercial advantages sought by the English, and the cultural interests of the Russians in their requests for English doctors, apothecaries, jewellers, and mineralogists.

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Edited by Srdjan Sremac and R. Ruard Ganzevoort

Religious and Sexual Nationalisms in Central and Eastern Europe: Gods, Gays, and Governments. presents case studies from some ten countries that serve to explore the ways in which religion, nationalism, and (homo)sexuality intersect in public discourse. It shows how religious leaders, political and social movements, LGBT-organizations, governments, and media negotiate the powers of religion and state in taking position regarding sexual diversity. These negotiations are as much about sexual morality as they are about national identity, anti-EU sentiments, and the efforts of religious institutions to regain power in post-communist societies.

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Edited by Dobrota Pucherova and Robert Gafrik

This collective monograph analyzes post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe through the paradigm of postcoloniality. Based on the assumption that both Western and Soviet imperialism emerged from European modernity, the book is a contribution to the development of a global postcolonial discourse based on a more extensive and nuanced geohistorical comparativism. It suggests that the inclusion of East-Central Europe in European identity might help resolve postcolonialism’s difficulties in coming to terms with both postcolonial and neo-colonial dimensions of contemporary Europe. Analyzing post-communist identity reconstructions under the impact of transformative political, economic and cultural experiences such as changes in perception of time and space (landscapes, cityscapes), migration and displacement, collective memory and trauma, objectifying gaze, cultural self-colonization, and language as a form of power, the book facilitates a mutually productive dialogue between postcolonialism and post-communism. Together the studies map the rich terrain of contemporary East-Central European creative writing and visual art, the latter highlighted through accompanying illustrations.

Byzantium/Modernism

The Byzantine as Method in Modernity

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Edited by Roland Betancourt and Maria Taroutina

Byzantium/Modernism features contributions by fourteen international scholars and brings together a diverse range of interdisciplinary essays on art, architecture, theatre, film, literature, and philosophy, which examine how and why Byzantine art and image theory can contribute to our understanding of modern and contemporary visual culture. Particular attention is given to intercultural dialogues between the former dominions of the Byzantine Empire, with a special focus on Greece, Turkey, and Russia, and the artistic production of Western Europe and America. Together, these essays invite the reader to think critically and theoretically about the dialogic interchange between Byzantium and modernism and to consider this cross-temporal encounter as an ongoing and historically deep narrative, rather than an ephemeral or localized trend.
Contributors are Tulay Atak, Charles Barber, Elena Boeck, Anthony Cutler, Rico Franses, Dimitra Kotoula, Marie-José Mondzain, Myroslava M. Mudrak, Robert S. Nelson, Robert Ousterhout, Stratis Papaioannou, Glenn Peers, Jane A. Sharp and Devin Singh.

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Zeev Levin

Zeev Levin seeks to provide a comprehensive picture of government efforts to socialize the Jewish masses in Uzbekistan, a process in which the central Soviet government took part, together with the local, republican and regional administrations and Soviet Jewish activists. This research presents a chapter in the history of the Jews in Uzbekistan, as well as contributing to the study of the socialization process of the Jewish population in the USSR in general. It also contributes to the study of relations among political and government bodies and decision makers. The study is based on archival documents and provides a unique glance at the implementation of Soviet nationalities policy towards Bukharan Jews while comparing it to other national minority groups in Uzbekistan.

A New Approach to the History of Violence

“Sexual Assault” and “Sexual Abuse” in Europe, 1500-1850

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Francisca Loetz

Up to now, historical research has treated violence mainly with reference to war, murder or massacre. Francisca Loetz argues for a new, complementary approach to history of violence as an interpersonal form of social action experienced as unacceptable behavior and aiming to subjugate the victim in everyday life. Analyzing cases of what the sources call “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” in the city state of Zurich between 1500 and 1850, Loetz discusses fundamental methodological problems such as: how can violence be defined as a concept? What makes violence what it is in a given society? Why is early modern “sexual assault” and “sexual abuse” not equivalent to modern rape and abuse? How does Zurich compare with pre-modern Europe?

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Boris Zhivkov

In Khazaria in the Ninth and the Tenth Centuries Boris Zhivkov offers a new view on Khazaria by scrutinizing the different visions offered by recent scholarship. The paucity of written sources has made it necessary to turn to additional information about the steppe states in this period, and to analyze exceptional cases not directly related to the Khazars. In re-examining the Khazars, he thus uses not only the known documentary sources and archaeological finds but also what we know from history of religions (comparative mythology), history of art, structural anthropology and folklore studies. In this way the book draws together a synthesis of conclusions, information and theory.