Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865 / Edition 1

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Until the mid-nineteenth century, the Amur region had been a virtual terra incognita for the Russian public. However, the region's annexation succeeded in stirring the dreams of the country's most outstanding social and political visionaries, who declared it "civilization's most important step forward." A decade later, this enthrallment and optimism had evaporated. Mark Bassin examines Russia's perceptions of the new territories, placing the Amur enigma in the context of Russian Zeitgeist mid-century, and offers a new perspective on the relationship among Russian nationalism, geographical identity and imperial expansion.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Imperial Visions promises to make a major contribution to the growing scholarship about Russian national identity." Journal of Modern History

"A stimulating study in which the intellectual history of this place and time is played out in an impressive exposition of the power of constructed geographies in creating national imaginations." Choice

"Mark Bassin's Imperial Visions is a work that will be appreciated by specialists in a wide array of disciplines. This is a masterful, groundbreaking book that combines intellectual history and geography in a way that has not been done before, shining a new light on the issues of Russian identity and the relationship between exploration, conquest and nationalism." Ilya Vinkovetsky, H-Net Reviews

"Imperial Visions is an innovative and well-crafted study that does much to further our understanding of the Russian Empire." Russian Review

"Bassin's unique book offers a truly novel perspective on the ambivalent relationship between Russian nationalism and imperial expansion in the Far East..." Archiv orientální

"This is an unusually interesting study of the rise and nature of Russian nationalism and imperialism during the era of Nicholas I." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Great rivers, like oceans, have stories to tell of the territorial ambitions of modern states...Mark Bassin, a cultural geographer of Russia with a deep knowledge of the nineteenth-century intellectual history of that country, has captured in valid detail one such tale of the Russian Empire." American Historical Review

"Mark Bassin's engaging book is the most recent addition to a series of studies in historical geography emanating from Cambridge University Press. Firmly grounded in both historical geography and intellectual history, Imperial Visions explores the interrelated themes of national indentity, imperial expansion, and the ever-shifting terrain of geographical imagination...provides useful background on historic events prior to 1840...Imperial Visions is highly recommended for upper division and graduate courses on the regional geography of the Russian Ferderation as well as historical geography classes. It provides rich coverage of a little-understood part of the world, while grounding the Russian Far East in sense of region and place." Association of American Geographers 2001

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword Nicholas V. Riasanovsky; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Map of the Russian Far East (c.1860); Part I: 1. Early visions and divinations; 2. National identity and world mission; 3. The rediscovery of the Amur; 4. The push to the Pacific; Part II: Introduction; 5. Dreams of a Siberian Mississippi; 6. Civilizing a savage realm; 7. Poised on the Manchurian frontier; 8. The Amur and its discontents; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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