Over the course of the long nineteenth century, hundreds of thousands of tsarist subjects left the Russian empire and resettled in western and central Europe. There, they created new communities that they called “Russian colonies.” This talk reconstructs the utopian experiments that emerged in the “Russian colonies,” and examines how they influenced political imaginaries in Russia and in their European host societies. Providing a vivid portrait of a unique émigré milieu, the presentation also argues that the story of the colonies offers a novel perspective on one of the most classic themes in Russian history—the relationship between Russia and Europe.
Faith Hillis is associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Children of Rus’: Right Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (Cornell University Press, 2013). The recipient of research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ACLS, Columbia, and Harvard, she is currently a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.