Crimea and the Russian Empire

Episode 304

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For much of the early modern period, the Crimean Khanate was the staunch ally of the Ottoman state in its rivalry with the growing Russian Empire. In this regard, Crimea's annexation by Russia in 1783 represented an major historical departure. But as our guest in this episode, Kelly O'Neill, explains, the early period of Crimea's incorporation into the Russian Empire was characterized by continuities as well as ruptures. In this conversation, we explore the subjects of Islamic law and endowments in Crimea under Russian rule and issues of political identity, as well as the history of the Black Sea slave trade and O'Neill's historical GIS project about the Russian Empire called "Imperiia: Mapping the Russian Empire."

To check out the Imperiia project, click here.

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Contributor Bios

Kelly O'Neill is Associate Professor of History at Harvard University. Her forthcoming monograph entitled “Southern Empire: the Logic and Limits of Russian Rule in Crimea” explores the history of Russian rule in Crimea during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Chris Gratien holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of History and is currently an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region from the 1850s until the 1950s.
Erin Hutchinson is a PhD candidate in History at Harvard University focusing on the social and cultural history of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin. Her dissertation project explores how intellectuals of rural origins, especially those from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia, sought to transform cultural understandings of the nation in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Mapping the Ottomans


Episode No. 304
Release Date: 9 March 2017
Recording Location: Harvard University
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Music: Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and Muzaffer; Katibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla; Harmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for permission to use the composition "Istanbul"

Select Bibliography

Fisher, Alan W. The Russian Annexation of the Crimea, 1772-1783. Cambridge [Eng]: University Press, 1970.

Kane, Eileen M. Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca. 2015.

Klein, Denise. The Crimean Khanate between East and West (15th-18th century). 2012.

Kolodziejczyk, Dariusz. The Crimean Khanate and Poland-Lithuania: International Diplomacy on the European Periphery (15th-18th Century) : a Study of Peace Treaties Followed by Annotated Documents. Leiden: Brill, 2011.

O’Neill, Kelly. 2006. "Constructing Russian Identity in the Imperial Borderland: Architecture, Islam, and the Transformation of the Crimean Landscape". Ab Imperio. 2006, no. 2: 163-192.

O’Neill, Kelly. 2011. "Rethinking Elite Integration: The Crimean Murzas and the Evolution of Russian Nobility". Cahiers Du Monde Russe: Russie, Empire Russe, URSS, E´tats Inde´pendants. 51, no. 2-3: 397-417.

Sunderland, Willard. Taming the Wild Field: Colonization and Empire on the Russian Steppe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.


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