Sen’, Dmitriy Vladimirovich. Frontier research in present-day Russia: Shaky boundaries of the academic dialogue

Published Date:

For citation: Sen’, Dmitriy Vladimirovich. Frontier research in present-day Russia: Shaky boundaries of the academic dialogue, in Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana. 2020. № 1. Pp. 66-80. DOI https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu19.2020.104

Title of the article  Frontier research in present-day Russia: Shaky boundaries of the academic dialogue  
Authors Sen’, Dmitriy Vladimirovich — Dr. Sc. in History, Professor, Institute of History and International Relations, Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Leading Researcher, Kalmyk Scientific Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, Elista, Russia, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., OrcID 0000-0002-5222-4685, Scopus ID 57211031437 
In the section  Disputatio / Discussion
Year 2020 Issue  1 Pages  66-80
Type of article RAR Index UDK; BBK  93; 63.0 Index DOI https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu19.2020.104 
Abstract

This article was created with the support of the program for the development of scientific journals under state contract No. 14.597.11.0035 concluded between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and NEICON/

The article analyses contemporary Russian scholars’ usage of the frontier concept in studies devoted to borders, borderlands, contact zones, and the history of Russian development of new lands. The author highlights controversial areas in such studies, including the features of frontier territories, the typology of Russian frontiers, and the search for counterparts to the term “frontier” in the Russian language and among Russian historical and geographical names. Cases discussed include Russian scholars deny the heuristic potential of the frontier concept for Russian history. Both the rhetoric of such authors and their sometimes far-from-scholarly system of arguments are analyzed. The author considers problems and perspectives of frontier theory in comparison with a similar situation in Ukrainian and American historiography. The modern efforts of scholars from different countries to study lexical analogues of the concept of “frontiers” in order to explain the historical and cultural local specifics of various territories were analyzed. At the same time, some explorers are offering to refuse of this concept in research practices. Attention is drawn to reasons why this theory is especially actively used by representatives of various regional academic centers in Russia. The common and distinctive features of studies in the history of various Russian frontiers are characterized. The most prominent among those frontiers are the Siberian and the southern (North Caucasian) frontiers. The article points out the connection between some development trends of frontier investigations in Russia and the interest growth to regional history, the history of the Russian state expansion and the borders formation of foreign policy. The author draws attention to a new generation of studies which has developed under the influence of the frontier theory. They have significantly transformed the state of academic humanitarian community of the South of Russia, a community that is quiet conservative in relation to modern scientific concepts. Finally, perspective topics were proposed for further use of the frontier concept in research on the history of Russia.

Keywords historiography, comparative studies, contact zones, borders, frontier, frontier theory 
Full text version of the article. Article language  English
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Tags: historiography, DISPUTATIO / DISCUSSION, comparative studies, Area studies, contact zones, frontier studies, borders, frontier theory

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