Call for Papers: Eurasians Abroad

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An interdisciplinary conference sponsored by the journal Kritika and the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, to be held at the Harriman in New York City, May 2021.

While there has been ample attention to Russia’s macro-impact on global affairs in the modern era, the country also has a rich history of more human-scaled yet no less important global encounters and impacts. Our conference is dedicated to exploring this history by focusing on the many diverse residents of the Russian historical space who have ventured into the world beyond Russian Eurasia over the centuries, including travelers, tourists, seafarers, diplomats, migrants, refugees, soldiers, missionaries, pilgrims, sex workers, explorers, scientists, business people, and students. The goal of our meeting is to investigate how these various mobile Eurasians experienced the world beyond Russia and analyze what their experiences might be able to tell us about the development of Russian politics, culture, society, and identity over the longue durée

Questions of interest to us include but are not limited to: 

  • Actors: Which inhabitants of Russian/Soviet space lived or traveled abroad, when, and how? Where did they go? Why? How did factors of ethnicity, gender, confession, occupation, and age affect how Russians perceived their international experiences?
  • Institutions: Which state and nonstate bodies influenced Russian exposure to the world? 
  • Ideas: How did the experience of traveling or working abroad shape Russian conceptions of homeland, identity, culture, and place? Which theories or concepts of cross-cultural interaction and perception seem especially applicable to the experience of Russians abroad? 
  • Diaspora: Where and how have diasporic communities and identities developed over multiple generations of immigration? How does the history of diaspora shape notions of Russian space? 
  • Impacts: How did Russians change the foreign places they visited or lived in? How did their experiences abroad change Russia?
  • Chronology: Which factors affected Russian experiences of the world and how did they change over time? Can we describe certain periods of the Russian past as more “worldly” or international than others? If so, how so, and for whom? 
  • Evidence and Interpretations: What are the sources of Russian global experience? How does the information offered by these sources change over time? How might the study of Russian experiences of the world shape new narratives of the Russian past as well as new world histories? 

We anticipate inviting a group of 12–20 specialist participants of various levels of experience (from doctoral students to senior scholars). 

All papers will be precirculated, with select articles to be published in a conference volume and/or special issue of Kritika

We invite interested presenters to apply to the conference by submitting a brief paper abstract (250–300 words) along with a short CV (maximum two pages) combined in a single PDF. 

The conference organizers will cover travel costs and lodging for most participants, but funds are limited, and we ask participants to apply as possible for funding from their home institutions. In your letter, please indicate whether you would need financial support if accepted.

Please submit a PDF of your abstract and short CV to our managing editor, Carolyn Pouncy, at by 1 May 2020.