Perceptions of East and West

Vera Tolz

in Russia's Own Orient

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594443
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725067 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern European History

Perceptions of East and West

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Dispels a widespread perception that, during the age of empire, scholars perceived the categories of East and West, Europe and Asia, as clearly definable entities. The chapter demonstrates that leading Russian Orientologists were fully aware that these categories were political and cultural constructs. It argues that the Orientologists developed their ideas, in part, to define Russia's place in the world and that their insistence that, historically, Muslim societies constituted both politically and culturally a single whole with the West/Europe was intended to underscore Russia's central position in Europe. This chapter also analyses the impact of the Russian scholars' views on wider societal perceptions of Europe, Asia and Russia itself during the fin de siècle, paying particular attention to the relationship between the views of these scholars and the theories of one of the most original early-twentieth-century Russian intellectual movements, the Eurasians.

Keywords: East; West; Europe; Aisa; geographical areas as political constructs Eurasians

Chapter.  10614 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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