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Internal Colonization

Paperback By Alexander Etkind
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Product Description

This book gives a radically new reading of Russia’s cultural history. Alexander Etkind traces how the Russian Empire conquered foreign territories and domesticated its own heartlands, thereby colonizing many peoples, Russians included. This vision of colonization as simultaneously internal and external, colonizing one’s own people as well as others, is crucial for scholars of empire, colonialism and globalization. Starting with the fur trade, which shaped its enormous territory, and ending with Russia’s collapse in 1917, Etkind explores serfdom, the peasant commune, and other institutions of internal colonization. His account brings out the formative role of foreign colonies in Russia, the self-colonizing discourse of Russian classical historiography, and the revolutionary leaders’ illusory hopes for an alliance with the exotic, pacifist sectarians. Transcending the boundaries between history and literature, Etkind examines striking writings about Russia’s imperial experience, from Defoe to Tolstoy and from Gogol to Conrad. This path-breaking book blends together historical, theoretical and literary analysis in a highly original way. It will be essential reading for students of Russian history and literature and for anyone interested in the literary and cultural aspects of colonization and its aftermath.

Product Details

Format: Paperback, 264 pages Language: English
Dimension: 22.99cm x 15.37cm x 2.34cm ISBN10: 0745651305
Weight: 463g ISBN13: 9780745651309
Publication Date: 14 Oct 2011 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Alexander Etkind is Professor of Russian Literature and Cultural History at the University of Cambridge, where he is also a Fellow at King's College. His most recent book is Internal Colonization: Russia's Imperial Experience (2011).

Product Reviews


Etkind  expands studies of Russia's entangled colonial experience to areas few have reached before, taking us from Leskov's Ladoga to Du

Bois's Mississipi, from Conrad's Congo to Macaulay's Tweed, from Gandhi's Ganges to Curzon's line. As an example of how to 'conquer foreign territories and domesticate its own heartlands', it remains for us to hope that this book might colonize many people. Russians included.

Cambridge Anthropology in this clever, wide-ranging book, Alexander Etkind sets out to argue that postcolonial critique is entirely apposite, not just to the Russian empire, but to Russia itself. The insights from postcolonial critique allow us, Etkind argues, to see many familiar issues in a new light and to untangle numerous issues of Russian history and culture. Showing the relevance of Russia to postcolonial theory also provides a way of provincializing western Europe within postcolonial studies.

 Slavic Review

The extraordinary breadth of this study will frustrate some historians.


. Most readers,however, will be inspired and delighted by Etkind's innovative return to major episodes abd figures in history and culture and will be informed by his perspective on the importance of the empire in Russia's past

The American Historical Review


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