The object of the research is history of Russia's regions in 18th – the beginning of the 20th centuries, regional political practices, current geographical positioning, the process of regional identity development.
Goals of the academic research project (in a wider sense) are complex studies of how identity of Russia’s regions developed in the period from the 18th century up through the 20th century in the context of developing regional political practices.
Project Objectives: analysis of regional identity development processes in the context of developing regional political practices in the Russian Empire (including such major regions as Central Russia, the North, Siberia, and the Far East, as well as the territories of Alaska, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Grand Duchy of Finland;
- Research of historiography on the issue;
- Developing a system capable of presenting the research results both in Russia and internationally (e.g., publication of historical sources, articles, collections of works and monographs, organizing conferences, seminars and webinars, participation in conferences, developing an electronic portal for historical sources, developing the laboratory’s website, etc.);
- Developing the “Russia’s Regions in Historical Perspective” resource portal (by the beginning of the project test version will have been launched), which will widely circulate materials covering the socio-political, economic and cultural development of the country’s regions under study, as well as materials with a focus on how historical memory and identity are formed;
- The research project has been undertaken by combining different study options (e.g., from an analysis of management practices to regional representation). The latter became possible owing to the implementation of the aforementioned concept of the region as an abstract analytical unit, as well as the combination of the regional context and historical comparative studies, thereby allowing researchers to identify general and particular approaches to regional studies.
The specific diversity of the sources engaged for this project’s implementation presumed the use of different research practices of the humanities: from classical approaches developed in the framework of auxiliary historical studies (e.g., source studies and paleography, historical geography, demography, metrology and onomatology, as well as disciplines relating to interpretations of visual materials to post-war methods for studying discourse-related practices (e.g., history of concepts, intellectual history, history of memory and new imperial history). In most cases, anthropologically focused analytical methods, which are predominantly informed by “new political” and “new social” history, have been applied in the project's study.
Results of the research project:
- In theoretical framework:
Creation of a clear and accurate understanding of the processes of regional development in Russia during certain historical periods which have helped to define a given region’s development, as well as the creation of a new analytical system for interpreting the cultural/historical situation during the Russian Empire;
- In terms of methodology:
Developing an analytical vocabulary for describing regional processes in Russia between the 18th and 20th centuries, thereby solving key methodological issues in contemporary historical analysis of regional development;
- In research practice:
Creation of a new academic unit for conducting in-depth comparative research on regional histories and socially-significant applied projects, as well as the development of platforms for training highly qualified experts; development of a base for international research and conducting a professional dialog with respect to regional analysis, comparative research and Russian historical studies.