Institute for Historical Studies – Friday February 18, 2022
“Racial Imaginary and Images of Tatars in Early Modern Russia (1560s-1690s)”
Thomas N. Tentler Collegiate Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, University of Michigan
Theorists of race often assert that race is a modern invention and that we are imposing modern categories when we attempt to find race in pre-modern history. Drawings from the sixteenth-century Illustrated Chronicle Compilation and seventeenth-century illustrated saints’ lives allow us to explore the question of Muscovite racial awareness by looking at depictions of people we today might designate as racially (as well as religiously) distinct from Russians.
“Prehistorical Archeology and the Making of ‘Race’ In Imperial Russia”
Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor, Department of History, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Prehistorical archeology played a fundamental role in turning “race” into a “science” in the 19th century. Race-making, though, was at heart a political program that each society adopted differently, in correspondence with its own cultural parameters. Some Russian prehistorical archeologists studied in Western Europe; all were familiar with the European literature. But the political imperatives that fueled scientific race-making in the West were simply not portable into the Russian imperial environment. There was no shortage of bias and legal discrimination in the Russian empire, against Jews and Muslims for instance, but for archeologists, race proved unhelpful to finding the origins of the empire or explaining Russia’s own forms of difference and predominance.
David Rainbow, Commentator
Instructional Assistant Professor of History
The Honors College, University of Houston
David Rainbow is a historian of modern Europe and Russia. He teaches classes on European and Russian intellectual history, the history of energy in Eurasia, and the Russian Revolution. He also teaches in the Honors College’s Human Situation sequence and advises students on opportunities to study abroad through Fulbright and Critical Language Scholarships and other programs. Dr. Rainbow is currently writing a book on the history of Russian imperial power in nineteenth-century Siberia from the mid-19th century through the 1917 Revolution. He is one of the leading historians on race in Russia, especially known for the important volume that he edited called Ideologies of Race: Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union in Global Context (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019). Before coming to the Honors College in 2015, Rainbow held postdoctoral positions at Columbia University and New York University. He received his doctoral degree from New York University.
Joan Neuberger, Moderator
Earl E. Sheffield Regents Professor of History
The University of Texas at Austin
Sponsored by: Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies; Department of Religious Studies; Department of Anthropology; Department of History; and Institute for Historical Studies.
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