The Soviet Connection: Russian Orientalism’s Long March 1800-1930




Hayes, Mateos Glen

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Although Edward Said's 'Orientalism' has been widely acknowledged for providing a necessary critical lens for the analysis of Orientalism in Western Europe and North America, whether post-colonial ideas neatly translate to the Russian example is still a question that provokes some uncertainty. This is largely due to the supposedly different ways in which Russian Orientalism evolved, namely that it never became a central component of Russian colonial policy in quite the same way that Western academic Orientalism did. The goal of this thesis, therefore, is to prove that post-colonial modes of analysis do have utility in the Russian context, and that this becomes clear once we make the historical connections between Imperial Russia’s Orientalism and its Soviet successor more explicit. This is not to say that Russian Orientalism produces the exact same results as its Western counterpart, but rather to demonstrate that we are nonetheless left with a system that bears many of the same traits. As such, this thesis will consider Russian Orientalism as one continuum of discourses and literature that begins in the 1800s and continues into the final days of the USSR, with a special focus on the years between 1890 and 1930. As a brief addendum, this thesis also draws historical connections between these developments and the contemporary geopolitical situation of the post-Soviet space.



Russia, Russian Empire, Imperial Russia, Soviet Orientalism, Soviet Union, Russian Orientalism, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Central Asia, Chechnya, colonialism, settler colonialism, South Caucasus, North Caucasus