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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
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Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Changing Menstrual Habits in Late 20th- and Early 21st-Century Russia

Vasilyev P., Konovalova Alexandra.

Open Library of Humanities. 2023. Vol. 9. No. 1. P. 1-20.

Book chapter
Creating the Soviet Arctic, 1917–1991

Bruno A., Kalemeneva E.

In bk.: The Cambridge History of the Polar Regions. Cambridge University Press, 2023. Ch. 19. P. 462-486.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

Faculty of History congratulates Ivan Sablin for the successful defense of his thesis and passing the exam for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Ivan Sablin worked on his thesis “Buryat-Mongol, Buddhist, and Socialist: Transcultural Spaces and Boundary Construction in Post-Imperial Asia, 1917–1923” at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he was part of the Graduate Program for Transcultural Studies.

The text of the thesis was evaluated with magna cum laude (“very good”) while for the defense and oral exam in Global History and History of Eastern Europe Ivan Sablin received summa cum laude (“very good” with honors).

Ivan Sablin’s project is devoted to the issues of post-imperial reconfigurations in the border region of Siberia and Mongolia where in 1917–1923 a number of projects aiming at creating new political entities were developed and fully or partially implemented. The creation of the Buryat-Mongolian Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic within the Soviet Union in 1923 and the independent Mongolian People’s Republic a year later was supposed to provide for effective control over the strategic border region between the recently collapsed Russian and Qing empires and its highly diverse population, and demonstrate a globally applicable model of transcultural governance to
follow the World Revolution. Although both republics were nominally based on ethno-national categories (Buryat-Mongols and Mongols), the non-national religious, political and economic considerations played a major role during the development of the Soviet project, and the new
governance structures were accepted by the majority of the regional polyethnic, multi-religious and otherwise socially diverse population.

The ultimate disentanglement of the geographical space into two territories was preceded by several alternative suggestions about how to draw new boundaries on the remains of the largest Asian empires. Among these projects that were developed and partly implemented in the
Baikal region in North Asia in 1917–1923, there were ethnic autonomies, superethnic federations and sovereign theocracies. The participants of the power relations behind the projects included
American, Japanese, Czechoslovak, Italian, French, British, Canadian, Chinese, Serbian, Hungarian, Austrian and German military personnel brought to the region by the Xinhai Revolution (1911–1912), the Great War (1914–1918), the October and February Revolutions (1917), the Civil War and the Allied Intervention in Russia (1917–1922), and a number of previously marginalized local groups, Buddhist monks and lay indigenous intellectuals.

The proponents of the ethno-national republics considered the experience of the failed attempts and paid much attention to the identities they sought to articulate. Furthermore, many actors who
developed or opposed the unsuccessful projects entered the interactions leading to the creation of the two republics, both of which were constructed with substantial participation of regional intellectuals.

Although all suggested boundaries technically partitioned the earth’s surface, they were constructed not in the geographical space, but in the many relational spaces – spaces formed by various relations
between people, places, institutions and other objects. In some of these transcultural (entangled and overlapping) spaces, boundaries were imagined and articulated in terms of group identities (ethnic,
religious, occupational) and then projected onto the geographical space suggesting demarcation of territories. In others, the boundaries were designed to establish control over communication networks and economic resources.

In order to grasp the interconnections and interrelations between and within the various transcultural spaces, a geographic information system was developed. The GIS allowed for exploring each boundary project in a geographically nuanced manner. The use of time function allowed for analyzing the process of boundary construction in its dynamics. Following the post-representational approach to cartography, the four-dimensional GIS did not aim at reconstructing a historic reality, but combined many different views of it instead, contributing thereby to transcultural studies’ quest for relationality and multipolar argumentation.

Even though the disentanglement projects were implemented locally, they were shaped by global and local power and discursive crossings. For social mobilization the many actors interested in establishing new power structures in the Baikal region appealed to the globally circulating ideas of self-determination and social justice, while utilizing local ethnic, clan, superethnic, political and religious categories.

The case study of the Baikal region in 1917–1923 allowed for in-depth exploration of relations between transculturality, power and space which are especially relevant nowadays, when the human diversity, interconnectedness and interdependency had been realized and addressed on global scale.

Source material used for the study was accessed at the State Archive of the Republic of Buryatia, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, the
National Library of Russia, the Russian State Military Archive, the US National Archives, and the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records.

Ivan Sablin would like to thank his colleagues and students, “Working and exchanging with my great colleagues and talented students at the Faculty of History not only helped me to successfully complete the dissertation project but also allowed for making significant improvements to the final text. The presentations and discussions at the regular sessions of the academic seminar “The Boundaries of History” played a very important role in preparing for the defense. The discussions and especially the conclusions which we made together with my students during the undergraduate seminars on General and Historical Geography, Global and Comparative History and History of
Russian Statehood were very helpful during the oral exam. The experience at the Faculty of History and fruitful exchange with my colleagues helped me to answer all the questions. I would especially
like to thank my colleagues and students for moral support over the past year”.