The archives of post-Soviet Eurasia are filled with documents concerning relations between tsarist officials and “Russia’s Muslims” between the 15th and 20th centuries (here the term “Russia’s Muslims” refers to Muslims whose lands became part of the Russian Empire and whose lives impacted, and were impacted by, Russian empire). What do such documents allow historians to say about the ways that Muslims interacted with tsarist and Soviet officials? Pollock’s talk has three aims. First, he will discuss the extent to which historians of Russian-Muslim encounters discuss their sources (i.e., primary sources as distinct from historiography) in monographs published in the last decade. Second, he will draw attention to and consider the consequences of historians’ relative neglect of tsarist and Muslim diplomatics – that is, the critical study of the conventions, protocols, and formulae used by the creators of historical documents. Finally, Pollock will examine Turkic-language correspondence of Caucasian provenance for what it reveals about tsarist-Muslim encounters in the region between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Sean Pollock is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Wright State University. Dr. Pollock earned his Ph.D in History from Harvard University in 2006. He has also taught at Yale University and the University of New Haven, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies at Columbia University before joining Wright State University in 2008. His current research focuses on the Russian Academy of Sciences expedition to the Caucasus in 1768-74, part of a larger project on Russian empire-building in the Caucasus in age of Catherine the Great.