- 29,00 kr
The past two decades have produced a virtual explosion in academic interest in racial theory and the history of race and racism. Historians, literary critics, and moral philosophers have published a staggering number of books, articles, and journals and organized countless conferences, symposia, and seminars devoted to these themes. The study of race and racism has emerged as a worldwide concern that knows no geographic boundaries or chronological limitations. Yet in the romance with racial matters, scholars have used race and racism so loosely, uncritically, and unreflectively that these terms have lost their analytical rigor and historical specificity and have become a "cliched vocabulary." (1) Some scholars have even advocated "forsaking once and for all the inflammatory and exceedingly ductile category of 'racism' save as a descriptive term referring to empirically analyzable doctrines and beliefs about 'race.'" (2) Others, however, continue to debate the significance of race in contemporary society and culture and use such provocative titles as Race Matters and Against Race to market their books to a wider audience. (3) In recent years, researchers have even broadened their inquiry to include previously uncharted geographic and chronological territories that range from the Greco-Roman world ("proto-racism") to modern France ("soft-racism"). (4) While the popularity of racial studies continues to grow and attract ever more attention from the academy, scholars of imperial Russia have shown little interest in the recent theoretical and historical discussions of race. (5) The "absence" of race in Russian imperial historiography, however, needs to be raised as a historical problem that requires explanation and analysis. If racial categories began to play a significant role in ordering social relations and behavioral practices in 19th-century Europe, why did these enormously influential ideas not penetrate Russian political culture and society? How unique was the Russian scientific community in its acceptance of environmental or neo-Lamarckian theories of development? To put it somewhat differently, did resistance to racial ideology symbolize Russia's alternative path to Western civilization and modernity?