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Mapping Europe's BorderlandsRussian Cartography in the Age of Empire$
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Steven Seegel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226744254

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226744278.001.0001

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Enlightenment to Romantic Historical Claims Between Imperial Russia and East Central Europe

Enlightenment to Romantic Historical Claims Between Imperial Russia and East Central Europe

(p.44) Chapter Two Enlightenment to Romantic Historical Claims Between Imperial Russia and East Central Europe
Mapping Europe's Borderlands
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Russian and Polish obsessions with origins, definitions, providence, and continuity endemic to early nineteenth-century understandings of European history, geography, and maps themselves. As of the 1830s, history and geography were still the stuff of educated gentlemen, curious travelers, and other dilettantes; gradually voluntary associations were formed, but even academic disciplines were not yet associational in a meaningful professional sense. At work in the age of Romanticism was less history and geography than historiosophy and geosophy, in a kind of historical fantasy space where history was inherently purposive, moving the European subject into a hoped-for future. The political geography of European Russia in borderland spaces excluded the colonized, or simply localized, populations whose choices of identity were shaped as much by the choices they thought they had as by the process of being labeled into collectivist units and territorial domains. In borderlands of empire where names of lands and peoples bore contested labels, mappers used similar cartographic methods, documents, and artifacts for politically antithetical aims. These, of course, were grounded in the nineteenth-century ideology of historical and scientific progress.

Keywords:   Russia, Poland, European history, geography, maps

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