Imperial Scholars and Minority Nationalisms on the Eve of the 1917 Revolutions

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

Imperial Scholars and Minority Nationalisms on the Eve of the 1917 Revolutions

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This chapter demonstrates how the imperial scholars became a key source of nationalist ideas for some of Russia's ethnic minorities and how, in turn, representatives of these minorities influenced the imperial scholars. The chapter focuses specifically on instances when representatives of the minorities had an upper hand in the creation of new knowledge about the empire's diverse population. It argues that the revisionism of Russian scholarship in such a field as the study of Buddhism owned much to the contribution made by members of Russia's Buddhist communities, particularly the Buriats. The analysis here is linked to current academic debates about the agency of colonial subjects in the production of Orientological knowledge in different imperial settings. Russian imperial Orientologists argued that this agency was particularly high in the Russian context, and the chapter assesses the validity of this claim.

Keywords: imperial scholars; ethnic minorities; sub-state nationalism; the agency of colonial subjects; production of academic knowledge; ethnic diversity

Chapter.  11630 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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