The Jordan Center’s Colloquium Series serves to introduce the most recent work of scholars within the Slavic field. Participants come from universities across the country and abroad, and work in disciplines ranging from history, political science and anthropology to literature and film. The colloquium discussion is based on a working paper which will be circulated prior to the event. On Friday, October 27th, please join us for “Selling Russian America, Buying Alaska: A Transnational History”, a colloquium with Susan Smith-Peter (College of Staten Island, CUNY).
Why sell a part of your own empire? One reason might be to help modernize the rest of it. In 1867, the Russian Empire sold Russian America, later renamed Alaska, to the United States for what was seen even at the time as the low price of $7.2 million. This talk argues that the sale can be seen as part of a larger attempt to modernize the Russian Empire in the 1860s by shifting from collaboration with intermediary groups, like the former administrators of the colony, the joint-stock Russian-American Company, to direct mobilization by the state itself.
Susan Smith-Peter is an Associate Professor of History at the College of Staten Island (CUNY) and the author of Imagining Russian Regions: Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia (Brill, forthcoming). She is presently working on a new project dealing with American exploration and the purchase of Alaska. She has published widely on topics related to Russian regions and Russian America.
This discussion will be based on a working paper which will be circulated prior to the event. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the paper or for any other questions.