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Travel, science, and empire : The Russian Geographical Society's expeditions to Central Eurasia, 1845--1905

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Title: Travel, science, and empire : The Russian Geographical Society's expeditions to Central Eurasia, 1845--1905
Authors: Bailey, Scott C. Matsushita
Issue Date: 2008
Description: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
After an introductory chapter, chapter 2 provides an overview of the Russian Geographical Society's organizational history and how they became involved in Central Eurasian exploration. Chapters 3 through 6 provide discussions of individual scholar-travelers and their main research expeditions to Central Eurasia, with analysis of their findings in the context of ongoing Russian colonial and imperial projects in the region. Chapter 7 provides some comparative context and suggestions for possible points of future comparison.
This dissertation examines the employment of ethnographic, geographic, and natural-scientific expeditions by the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Imperial government during the second half of the nineteenth century. The expeditions and the expeditionary leaders under discussion were sent to the Central Eurasian region for a number of reasons, including the gaining of samopoznanie (self-knowledge) of lands and peoples already under imperial control, but more often to gather information on lands and peoples beyond Russian borders. These expeditions collected samples of flora and fauna, mapped the territory, made ethnographic observations, and provided other information of use for future settlement or colonization. The expeditionary leaders also left research reports about their journeys, which are analyzed and summarized in this dissertation. The individuals who led these expeditions became important instigators of the further eastward colonization of the region by shifting the research focus of the institution beyond Russian Turkestan (during the 1850s and 1860s) to research in China, Tibet, and Eastern Turkestan (from the 1870s until the end of the century). The traveling expeditions and the expeditionary leaders themselves are analyzed comparatively and placed into the wider global and national historical contexts. This work also identifies a shift in the language of these travel accounts as the century progressed, moving from the relatively-benign documentation of flora and fauna during the earlier period to more overtly strategic and even jingoistic reports by the end of the century. The individual identities of scholar-travelers are also investigated, with some analysis of the process of creating the Russian or Russian Geographical Society scholar-traveler.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 329-342).
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ISBN: 9780549600336
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - History
Ph.D. - History

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