Imperial Odessa: Peoples, Spaces, Identities


Imperial Odessa: Peoples, Spaces, Identities is a book about a cosmopolitan city written by a cosmopolitan scholar with a literary flair. Evrydiki Sifneos conceives Odessa as more of a fin-de siècle east Mediterranean port-metropolis than as a provincial port-city of the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century due to two of its principal characteristics: its function as a hub of international trade and travel, and the multi-ethnic character of its inhabitants. The book unfolds around two interpenetrating axes. The first one introduces a new "peripatetic" approach that discovers the space of the city; and the other, the one that has given it its dynamic, is the socio-economic transformations that germinated within the political changes.
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Biographical Note

Evrydiki Sifneos (1957-2015) was Research Director of the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens. She has published monographs and many articles on Black Sea history in English and Greek, including Greek Merchants in the Sea of Azov: The Power and the Limits of a Family Enterprise (Athens, 2009).

Table of contents

Introduction: Of Peripatetic and Other Approaches to Odessa’s History
 1 The Peripatetic Approach
 2 The Socio-economic Approach
1 Port: Mobility and Ethnic Pluralism
 1 Port-City Identities and Cosmopolitanism
 2 Enlightened Administrators
 3 The People of the Port
 4 Influences from Without and Within
 5 The Connectedness of Odessa
 6 Travel Destination and Relay
 7 The Demographic Snapshot
 8 Residential Porosity: The Mikhel’son Apartment Building in Aleksandrovskii District
 9 Images, Representations, Comparisons
2 Toward a Consumer Society: Tastes, Markets and Political Liberalism
 1 The Rise of a Consumer Society
 2 Markets
 3 Provisioning the City
 4 Profile of the Merchant-Entrepreneurs Involved in Foreign Trade and Their Specialisations
 5 Patterns of Successful Business
 6 The Evolution of Markets in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century
 7 Political Liberalism: The Parallel Activity of the Union of Welfare and the Greek Secret Society
 8 Imagining Greece’s Independence in Odessa’s Greek Market
 9 History of the Philiki Etaireia
 10 Facilitating Factors for Political Fermentation
 11 The Commercial Outlook of the Greek Society of Friends
3 Merchants and Entrepreneurs: The Driving Forces of Odessa’s Economy
 1 Industry in Odessa
 2 Types of Entrepreneurs and Strategies
 3 The Port and the Exporter
 4 Middlemen: The Period of Transition
 5 Real Estate Owners in Odessa
 6 The Diversified Entrepreneur
 7 The “Political” Entrepreneur
 8 At the Commercial Court
 9 Transcending Communal Boundaries in Capital Raising
4 The Springtime of the Public Sphere
 1 Public Spaces
 2 Civil Society?
 3 Associations, Societies, Professional Societies
 4 Workers’ Associations
 5 Ethnic Minority Associations
 6 Charity as a Culture
 7 Án Example of Commercial Charity: The Greek Benevolent Association of Odessa
 8 Towards a Longed-for Multi-Ethnic Society: Odessa 1907–1914
5 The Two Sides of the Moon: Ethnic Clashes and Tolerance in a Cosmopolitan City
 1 Co-existence and Tolerance in the Upper Classes
 2 Rivalry in the Middle Classes
 3 Separation and Conflict in the Lower Strata
 4 Crisis Management and the Responsibilities of the Local Authorities
 5 Stereotypes
 6 Impact of the Pogroms and Civic Drawbacks
 7 Non-ethnic Violence
6 The End of a Cosmopolitan Port-City
 1 Áftermath: The Four Stories
 2 Politicization during the School Years
  2.1 Gymnasia Militancy
  2.2 Acquaintances
  2.3 The Illegal Literature
 3 Between Judicial Responsibility, Passion for Music and Revolution
  3.1 1918 – Law Service, Music and German Occupation
  3.2 1919 – Farewell to the Violoncello
 4 Between War and Revolution
  4.1 The February Revolution
  4.2 The October Revolution
  4.3 The Bolsheviks in Odessa (January–March)
  4.4 Odessa under Austro-German Occupation (March–November 1918)
  4.5 The Allied Intervention (French and Greeks in Odessa) – December 1918–March 1919
  4.6 The Departure
 5 At the Gen Factory in Peresyp’
  5.1 Ideology and Workers’ Demands in 1917
  5.2 The Battle for the Eight-Hour Workday
  5.3 Bombshells into Ploughshares
  5.4 At Odessa’s Companies
  5.5 The “Sale” of the Factory
 6 Peoples and Identities
 7 Epilogue
Index of Names
Index of Places
Index of Subjects


All interested in the history of the Black Sea, Russian Empire, port cities, economic and business history, social and cultural history


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