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Workshop: Borderland Capitalisms Reconsidered: Economic Practices and Contested Resources in (Post-)Imperial Siberia and Central Asia (1822–1929)

News vom 31.01.2024

Convenors: Robert Kindler, Ruslana Bovhyria, Aleksandr Korobeinikov

For decades, Central Asia, Siberia, and the Far East held a subordinate role in the economic history of the Russian Empire. Whenever questions arose regarding the connection between imperial expansion, presence in the Asiatic peripheries, and economic significance, the focus remained largely centered on the viewpoints and rationale of the imperial core. However, the non-European parts of the empire were often referred to as resource peripheries or colonies. This scarce attention paid to the economic history of Central Asia, the Far East, and — to a lesser extent — Siberia is striking. Meanwhile, an examination of the Asiatic peripheries reveals complex dynamics deriving from the considerable variability of economic practices and hybrid economic systems. Consequently, the study of peripheries as areas of economic interdependence and competition in a comparative perspective serves as a point of departure for our workshop. Selected papers from the workshop will be considered for publication in a special forum of “Ab Imperio”.

Find the full programme here.


Thursday, 1 February 2024

13.30 - 14.00  Welcome and Introduction

Robert Kindler, Ruslana Bovhyria, Aleksandr Korobeinikov | FU Berlin

14.00 - 15.00  Keynote

Beatrice Penati | University of Liverpool

Peripheral or Global? Turkestan’s Place in Old and New Histories of Capitalism

Coffee Break

15.30 - 17.00  Panel I: Borderland Encounters and Spatial Visions

Chair: Stephan Rindlisbacher | European University Viadrina

Niccolò Pianciola | University of Padua

States of Economic Exception: Entangled Sovereignities and Cross-border Trade in the Russian Far East-Manchuria Borderland, 1906-1929

Aleksandr Korobeinikov | CEU Budapest/Vienna and FU Berlin

Natural Resources and Border Making in the Postimperial Yakut Region

Ruslana Bovhyria | FU Berlin

Perilous Waters: The Caspian Sea and the Maritime Dimension of Central Asian Economies, 1850s-1910s

17.00 - 18.30  Panell II: Colonial Actors and Economic Encounters

Chair: Emre Tegin | FU Berlin

Lilija Wedel | University of Bielefeld

Russian-German Entrepreneurs in Turkestan: Marketing Strategies and Contributions, 1870-1914

Thomas Loy | Czech Academy of Sciences

Haim Abraham: Borderland Encounters and Economic Practices of a Jewish Merchant between Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia

Aleksandr Turbin | University of Illinois at Chicago

“European Consumerism” in the Chinese Shop: Consumption and Competing Visions of “Proper” Commerce in the Far East of the Russian Empire in the 1880s-1890s

19.00 Dinner (“Piaggio”, Königin-Luise-Straße 44)


Friday, 2 February 2024


9.00 - 10.30  Panel III: Knowledge and Power in Central Asia

Chair: Natasha Klimenko | FU Berlin

Ian Campbell | University of California-Davies

Envisioning Settler and Local Economies: Knowledge Production and Resettlement in the Late Imperial Era

Alisher Khaliyarov | American University of Sharjah

Borderland Transformation: The Process of Currency Change in Khiva

Coffee Break

11.00 - 12.30  Panel IV: Imperial Dynamics and Contested Resources in Siberia

Chair: Aleksandr Korobeinikov | CEU Budapest/Vienna and FU Berlin

Sergei Glebov | Smith College and Amherst College

Goods and Bodies: Race and the Invention of Chinese Commerce in Late Imperial Far East

David Darrow | University of Dayton

The Spread of Empire: Towards a Comparative History of Siberia’s Cooperative Creameries


13.30 - 15.00  Panel V: Empire and Human-Animal Relations

Chair: Robert Kindler | FU Berlin

Takahiro Yamamoto | Singapore University of Technology and Design

A Japan Ground Redux?: Marine Animal Hunting Around the Kuril Islands in the Late Nineteenth Century

Chechesh Kudachinova | Bonn University

The Production of Velvet Antler: Frontier Industry and Resource Knowledge in South Siberia, 1880s-1920s

Timm Schönfelder | GWZO Leipzig

Tracing the Fur Trade. On the Globalization of Resource Exploitation across the 1917-Divide

Coffee Break

15.30 - 16.30  Final Discussion and Outlook (Roundtable)

Chair: Martin Wagner | FU Berlin

Alun Thomas, Stephan Rindlisbacher, Robert Kindler, Ruslana Bovhyria, Aleksandr Korobeinikov

Borderland Capitalisms Reconsidered


Robert Kindler robert.kindler@fu-berlin.de

Ruslana Bovhyria ruslana.bovhyria@fu-berlin.de

Aleksandr Korobeinikov aleksandr.korobeinikov@fu-berlin.de

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