'Rivers of blood': illustrating violence and virtue in Russia's Early Modern empire

Thu 6 Nov 2014, 18:00 - 19:15

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, between the reign of Ivan the Terrible and that of Peter the Great, Muscovite Russian forces swept eastward, conquering, colonizing, and controlling territories reaching from the Volga to the Pacific. While early modern European thinkers such as Las Casas, Sepulveda, Hobbes and Locke pondered the pragmatics and ethics of imperial conquest, Muscovites wasted little time on theory.  In the absence of textual treatises, visual depictions of bloody battles, ruthless punishment, and colonial rule reveal surprising patterns, with significant, and unexpected, implications for understanding Russian policies of imperial incorporation.

Professor Valerie Kivelson University of Michigan

Chaired by Professor Hamish Scott FBA, FRSE, University of Glasgow

About the speaker:
Valerie Kivelson
 (PhD Stanford University) teaches at the University of Michigan.  Her publications include Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2013);Cartographies of Tsardom:  The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2006), andPicturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, co-edited with Joan Neuberger (2008).

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