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Anna is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Rutgers History Department. She came to Rutgers with a BA in History and French, MA in International Relations and an MBA and now works on Modern European history. She focuses on the first quarter of the nineteenth century more broadly as well as on Imperial Russia under a guiding principle that Russian history studied as a core part of European history will enrich our understanding of both. Her more specific interests include European aristocracy and the uprisings of the 1820s, intellectual history, the post-Napoleonic time and space and how this temporality produced a particular understanding of the self.
The 1820s saw several uprisings throughout Europe led by aristocratic revolutionaries with a goal of a constitutional form of government. Russia’s turn came in 1825 with the Decembrist Uprising. However, for almost two hundred years, the debates around the revolt have been steered by clear political interests and its continuous mythmaking. The Decembrists have been written into and out of Russian history both as heroic fools and foolish heroes. This project is interested in the Decembrists before the myth. Based largely on letters and focused on the decade prior to the event itself, it seeks to understand how the unprecedented mobility of the Napoleonic wars and the particular sense of space and time it created functioned to produce a certain type of understanding of the self. How the experience of this specific temporality coupled with an aristocratic transcultural reality refracted the ideas of Enlightenment, Romanticism, Idealism, religion, and patriotism to produce a ‘revolutionary self’. Deeply conflicted on questions of violence, the Decembrists debated the type of action they should take but not action itself. The moment of decision-making renders a particular ‘self’ visible. And it is this particular ‘revolutionary self’ of the 1820s, its ethical subjectivity and how and why it came about, that Anna’s project seeks to understand.
History of Western Civilization II