Evgeny Khvalkov “The Colonies of Genoa in the Black Sea Region: Evolution and Transformation”
On 1st of March 2018, within the series of “Boundaries of history” seminars, Evgeny Khvalkov, Associate Professor in the Department of History in Saint-Petersburg campus of Higher School of Economics, presented his book “The Colonies of Genoa in the Black Sea Region: Evolution and Transformation”.
The presentation had started with the speech of prof. Semyonov, which was intended to greet the audience and also to introduce the theme and the author himself.
Evgeny Khvalkov, the author of the work, started with stating that his book about the colonies of Genoa in the Black Sea region was based on his own dissertation (defended in 2015).
After that, the author explained the connection to the “Boundaries of history” theme. For example, ancient city of Caffa (modern day Feodosia) at the time described in the book, can be seen as the boundary of Europe. Next, author described the phenomenon of “proto-globalization”, which existed from XIII to XV centuries and which was caused by the conquest of Mongols. After that Evgeny Khvalkov appealed to the subject of appearance of Italian colonies in the Black Sea region.
Later, author gave explanation of the term Gazaria, which refers to the Genoese colonies in the Crimean Peninsula. Next, author stated that his work is limited to the year of 1475, when all the colonies were conquered by the Ottomans.
In the next part of presentation, Evgeny Khvalkov said that he had several advantages over other authors who wrote about the subject. The main two of them consisted in availability to attend the territories of former Genoese colonies and also in using archives during his research, which in total notably defines his work among the others.
Later, the author stated the main problem of his work: How the polyethnic society of Caffa was (was not) able to adapt to hard political changes caused by the Ottomans and how it transformed in the course of 15th century.
Evgeny Khvalkov concluded his presentation by noting the possibility of continuity between medieval and modern history colonialism.
In the course of following discussion such problems as colonialism, landscape transformation within the period, legal pluralism in colonies, origin of the term of “Gazaria”, religious base of ethnic belonging of Caffa’s population were discussed and debated.
Report: Grigori Khorkov
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