Lecture: "War and Enlightenment in Russia: Military Culture in the Age of Catherine II"

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9:00, Friday 6 Aug 2021 (1 hour 30 minutes)
  Virtual session
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In his lecture, Dr. Eugene Miakinkov will discuss his recent book, War and Enlightenment in Russia, which explores how members of the military during the reign of Catherine II reconciled Enlightenment ideas about the equality and moral worth of all humans with the Russian reality based on serfdom, a world governed by autocracy, absolute respect for authority, and subordination to seniority.

While there is a sizable literature about the impact of the Enlightenment on government, economy, manners, and literature in Russia, no analytical framework that outlines its impact on the military exists. Eugene Miakinkov’s research addresses this gap and challenges the assumption that the military was an unadaptable and vertical institution. Using archival sources, military manuals, essays, memoirs, and letters, the author demonstrates how the Russian militaires philosophes operationalized the Enlightenment by turning thought into reality. In the process, he explores debates about merit, education, professionalism, and individualism.

This event is sponsored by the University of Toronto Press

Concordia University
Swansea University
Senior Lecturer