Dr. Leikin will discuss how Russian and foreign merchants - often caught in the snares of Russian policing on the Black Sea - navigated and exploited the legal regime of the Black Sea in the early 19th century. Drawing on court records, she charts the interactions between merchants and local officials that took place in admiralty courts, customhouses, and public auctions. Through legal arguments and petitions to the Russian bureaucracy, merchants challenged the Russian Empire to clarify and define its maritime laws, thereby shaping the trade networks in the region.
Dr. Leikin is a postdoctoral research fellow in History at the University of Exeter. She received her PhD in Modern European History at University College London. Her academic interests are in imperial Russian and modern European history, Russia’s understanding of international law, and legal culture. Her current book project is In the Spirit of the Laws: The Russian Empire in the International Order, 1700-1856. Dr. Leikin is the 2018 Fisher Fellow at the Summer Research Lab.