'The Atheist's Bible: Diderot's 'Elements de physiologie' by Caroline Warman is the winner (jointly) of the R. Gapper Book Prize 2021 for best book in French Studies.

Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850

Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 Simon Franklin and Katherine Bowers (eds)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-373-5 £24.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-374-2 £34.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-375-9 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-376-6 £5.99
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-377-3 £5.99
XML ISBN: 978-1-78374-452-7 £0.00

Click here to read the PDF online for free Click here to read the HTML online for free

A short review cannot do justice to the many felicitous discoveries that can be made in this volume.[..] I think the most interesting memory the volume will leave with its readers is of how seventeenth-century Russia operated as a society. We may vaguely imagine that before Peter the Great all was backwardness, chaos, inefficiency and sloth. Here we see, by contrast, a rather well-organized realm, able to meet big challenges; even its famously numerous chanceries did not function badly. This is an unusual work, often demanding but we can be grateful to Open Book Publishers for it.
Prof. Robin Milner-Gulland, Journal of European Studies 48:2 (2018), pp.199-201

 It would be just as reasonable to say that a whole new space has been opened up for research. This consistently rewarding book offers more than the sum of its parts. It deserves the widest possible readership. And it seems certain to acquire one—appropriately for a volume devoted to the circulation of information, it is available free to all as a pdf download from the far-sighted publisher’s website: https://www.openbookpublishers.com/product/636
Simon Dixon, Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600–1850, ed. Simon Franklin and Katherine Bowers, The English Historical Review https://doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cez179

Wegen dieser guten Verfügbarkeit des Bandes, seiner klaren Struktur und der Bedeutung des Themas kann das Buch sowohl dem Spezialisten als auch für die universitäre Lehre empfohlen werden. Die kontroversen, aber auch komplementären Thesen im Buch werden zu fruchtbaren Diskussionen in Kursen und Seminaren anregen.

—Arkadi Miller, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas in our review supplement jgo.e-reviews 9 (2019), no. 2

Read more from contributors including Katherine Bowers, Clare Griffin and Daniel C. Waugh discussing the book on our

From the mid-sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century Russia was transformed from a moderate-sized, land-locked principality into the largest empire on earth. How did systems of information and communication shape and reflect this extraordinary change?

Information and Empire brings together a range of contributions to shed some light on this complex question. Communication networks such as the postal service and the gathering and circulation of news are examined alongside the growth of a bureaucratic apparatus that informed the government about its country and its people. The inscription of space is considered from the point of view of mapping and the changing public ‘graphosphere’ of signs and monuments. More than a series of institutional histories, this book is concerned with the way Russia discovered itself, envisioned itself and represented itself to its people.

Innovative and scholarly, this collection breaks new ground in its approach to communication and information as a field of study in Russia. More broadly, it is an accessible contribution to pre-modern information studies, taking as its basis a country whose history often serves to challenge habitual Western models of development. It is important reading not only for specialists in Russian Studies, but also for students and non-Russianists who are interested in the history of information and communications.

Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850
Simon Franklin and Katherine Bowers (eds) | November 2017
444 | 48 colour illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783743735
ISBN Hardback: 9781783743742
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783743759
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783743766
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783743773
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783744527
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0122
Subject Codes: BIC: HBTB (Social and cultural history), JFC (Cultural studies); BISAC: HIS032000 (HISTORY / Russia & the Former Soviet Union); OCLC Number: 1167489297.

You may also be interested in:

Notes on Contributors
Simon Franklin
Download the free PDF

1. Early Mapping: The Tsardom in Manuscript
Valerie Kivelson
Download the free PDF

2. New Technology and the Mapping of Empire: The Adoption of the Astrolabe
Aleksei Golubinskii
Download the free PDF

3. Muscovy and the European Information Revolution: Creating the Mechanisms for Obtaining Foreign News
Daniel C. Waugh and Ingrid Maier
Download the free PDF

4. How Was Western Europe Informed about Muscovy? The Razin Rebellion in Focus
Ingrid Maier
Download the free PDF

5. Communication and Obligation: The Postal System of the Russian Empire, 1700–1850
John Randolph
Download the free PDF

6. Information and Efficiency: Russian Newspapers, ca.1700–1850
Alison K. Smith
Download the free PDF

7. What Was News and How Was It Communicated in Pre-Modern Russia?
Daniel C. Waugh
Download the free PDF

8. Bureaucracy and Knowledge Creation: The Apothecary Chancery
Clare Griffin
Download the free PDF

9. What Could the Empress Know About Her Money? Russian Poll Tax Revenues in the Eighteenth Century
Elena Korchmina
Download the free PDF

10. Communication and Official Enlightenment: The Journal of the Ministry of Public Education, 1834–1855
Ekaterina Basargina
Download the free PDF

11. Information in Plain Sight: The Formation of the Public Graphosphere
Simon Franklin
Download the free PDF

12. Experiencing Information: An Early Nineteenth-Century Stroll Along Nevskii Prospekt
Katherine Bowers
Download the free PDF

Selected Further Reading
List of Figures

Ekaterina Basargina is a Senior Researcher in the St Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her research mainly focusses on the history of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her publications include: The Imperial Academy of Sciences at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries (in Russian, 2008), The Russian Academician G. H. Langsdorff and his Travels to Brazil, 1803–29 (in Russian, 2016, ed.), The Department of Russian Language and Literature of the Imperial Academy of Sciences During the First 50 Years of its Activities, 1841–91 (in Russian, 2017, with O. Kirikova). She won the Macarius Prize in 2004.

Katherine Bowers is an Assistant Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research interest is nineteenth-century Russian literature and cultural history, and she is currently working on a book about the influence of gothic fiction on Russian realism. Other publications include Russian Writers at the Fin de Siècle: The Twilight of Realism (2015, ed., with A. Kokobobo) and A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (forthcoming 2018, eds., with C. Doak and K. Holland). From 2012–14 she was Research Associate on the project, "Information Technologies in Russia, 1450–1850”, led by Simon Franklin, and a Research Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Simon Franklin is Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He has written widely on the history and culture of early Rus, Muscovy and Russia. Books include The Emergence of Rus 700–1200 (1996, with Jonathan Shepard), Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950–1300 (2002), and National Identity in Russian Culture: an Introduction (2004, ed., with Emma Widdis).His recent research has focussed on the social and cultural history of technologies of the word in Russia in the late medieval and early modern periods (c. 1450–1850).

Aleksei Golubinskii is a Lead Researcher in the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents (since 2007) and a Junior Researcher at the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2016). A specialist in eighteenthcentury history, his research interests include the General Land Survey, GIS, peasant literacy, and cartography. He recently collaborated on the project Cities of the Russian Empire from the Economic Notes of the General Land Survey (in Russian, 2016, eds., with D. A. Chernenko and D. A. Khitrov). Currently he is a participant in the project "16th- and 17th-century Drawings of the Russian State”. He also created and maintains the website of the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents.

Clare Griffin is an Assistant Professor of the History of Science and Technology at Nazarbayev University (Astana, Kazakhstan). She is the author of ‘In Search of an Audience: Popular Pharmacies and the Limits of Literate Medicine in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century Russia’, Bulletin for the History of Medicine, 89 (2015), and ‘Russia and the Medical Drug Trade in the Seventeenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, forthcoming. Her current research considers the role of the Russian Empire in early modern commodity and knowledge exchanges relating to medicaments.

Valerie Kivelson is Thomas N. Tentler Collegiate Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth Century Russia (2006), Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2013), and most recently, with Ronald G. Suny, Russia’s Empires (2016). With Joan Neuberger, she edited Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture (2008), and her current work brings together her interest in empire and the visual.

Elena Korchmina is a Research Associate at New York University in Abu Dhabi. She has published several articles in Rossiiskaia istoriia, most recently under the title ‘"… v chest′ vziatok ne davat′… ”: kak "pochest′”stanovitsia "vziatkoi” v postpetrovskoi Rossii’ [‘… don’t give bribes in honour…’: how gifts became bribes in Post-Petrine Russia] (no. 2, 2015). Her most recent publication is the chapter ‘The Practice of Personal Finance and the Problem of Debt Among the Noble Elite in Eighteenth Century Russia’, in The Europeanized Elite in Russia, 1762–1825. Public Role and Subjective Self, A. Schönle, A. Zorin, A. Evstratov, eds. (2016). Her research interests are in the economic history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia and in the history of the Russian nobility and noble self-government.

Ingrid Maier is a Professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages at Uppsala University. Her research interests lie in the history of Russian language and culture, especially aspects of influences between Western Europe and Russia. Some of the main topics of her recent research concern translations of European (above all German and Dutch) newspapers into Russian during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries ("Vesti-Kuranty”) and the history of the Russian court theatre at the time of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. Her most recent book is The Court Theatre in Russia during the Seventeenth Century: New Sources (in Russian, 2016, with Claudia Jensen).

John Randolph is a specialist in imperial Russian history, and an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The House in the Garden: The Bakunin Family and the Romance of Russian Idealism (2007) and co-editor of Russia in Motion: Cultures of Mobility, 1850-Present (2012).

Alison K. Smith is a Professor in the History Department at the University of Toronto, and the author of two books: Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood under the Tsars (2008) and For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia (2014). Her current research focuses on the palace of Gatchina and its surrounding area, examining the ways that individual subjects of the Russian Empire interacted directly with imperial authority.

Daniel Waugh, Professor Emeritus of History, International Studies and Slavic at the University of Washington (Seattle), has written extensively on Muscovite book culture, on the history of the "Great Game” rivalries over control of Central Asia, and on the historic "Silk Roads”. He is co-author with Ingrid Maier of a forthcoming book on news in Muscovy, and for over a decade has edited an annual, The Silk Road.