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Making Sense of Privacy: Russia, 1780-1820 (with Victoria Frede-Montemayor)

October 24 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

The notion of privacy is integral to our common-sense understanding of human life in modern times. We tend to assume that a private life is something people desire and practice, whether as individuals or in small groups. Scholars have nevertheless struggled to reach consensus on the nature of privacy, a private life, or the private sphere, with numerous competing definitions in circulation. Efforts to delineate the private in terms of what it is not—public—are complicated, as the latter concept has proven equally elusive. The historical terrain was especially rocky in Russia, where, we are told, these two spheres did not become meaningfully distinct until the middle of the nineteenth century. This paper tries to bring clarity and some measure of simplicity to the discussion, both by drawing on the broader scholarship around privacy, and by analyzing first-person accounts dating to the turn of the nineteenth century.

This event will be held in person for NYU affiliates only. Others will be able to join on Zoom.

Victoria Frede is an associate professor of history at U.C. Berkeley. Her first book, Doubt, Atheism, and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Intelligentsia, was published in 2011. Her current project concerns the history of friendship in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia.


October 24
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


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