Wrangling Space into Russian Imperial History: Agendas for Digital and Collaborative Scholarship

February 2012

This exploratory workshop aims to convene a dynamic group of scholars around a set of questions and challenges posed by the confluence of the spatial turn in the field of Russian history and the recent boom in digital scholarship.

The goal of the workshop is to answer a straightforward yet remarkably open-ended question: How might the approaches and practices that fall under the rubric of “digital humanities” transform the way we understand and write the history of the Russian empire? Technology has put innumerable tools at our fingertips, but are we willing to use them? What is the future of the collaborative, open-access model in a field driven by individual archival labor and traditional monograph publication?

This workshop will bring together scholars whose work deals in substantive yet varied ways with space and the way it informs the social, cultural, and political structures of empire. It will include historians of borderlands and forests, maritime and terrestrial landscapes, practitioners of environmental history, and geographers. Through a series of sustained conversations, it will encourage participants to explore new methods of analysis, consider agendas for future collaboration, and foster new understandings of the potential of Russia’s imperial space as both subject and tool of historical research.