CEERES of Voices: Laura Engelstein - "Russia in Flames" - Faith Hillis

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

CEERES of Voices presents Laura Engelstein Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914-1921. She will be joined in conversation by Faith Hillis and Kenneth Pomeranz.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

At the Seminary Co-op Bookstore
 

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required)

 

About the book: October 1917, heralded as the culmination of the Russian Revolution, remains a defining moment in world history. Even a hundred years after the events that led to the emergence of the world's first self-proclaimed socialist state, debate continues over whether, as historian E. H. Carr put it decades ago, these earth-shaking days were a "landmark in the emancipation of mankind from past oppression" or "a crime and a disaster." Some things are clear. After the implosion of the three-hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty as a result of the First World War, Russia was in crisis--one interim government replaced another in the vacuum left by imperial collapse.

 

In this monumental and sweeping new account, Laura Engelstein delves into the seven years of chaos surrounding 1917 --the war, the revolutionary upheaval, and the civil strife it provoked. These were years of breakdown and brutal violence on all sides, punctuated by the decisive turning points of February and October. As Engelstein proves definitively, the struggle for power engaged not only civil society and party leaders, but the broad masses of the population and every corner of the far-reaching empire, well beyond Moscow and Petrograd.

 

Yet in addition to the bloodshed they unleashed, the revolution and civil war revealed democratic yearnings, even if ideas of what constituted "democracy" differed dramatically. Into that vacuum left by the Romanov collapse rushed long-suppressed hopes and dreams about social justice and equality. But any possible experiment in self-rule was cut short by the October Revolution. Under the banner of true democracy, and against all odds, the Bolshevik triumph resulted in the ruthless repression of all opposition. The Bolsheviks managed to harness the social breakdown caused by the war and institutionalize violence as a method of state-building, creating a new society and a new form of power.

 

Russia in Flames offers a compelling narrative of heroic effort and brutal disappointment, revealing that what happened during these seven years was both a landmark in the emancipation of Russia from past oppression and a world-shattering disaster. As regimes fall and rise, as civil wars erupt, as state violence targets civilian populations, it is a story that remains profoundly and enduringly relevant.

 

About the author: Laura Engelstein is Henry S. McNeil Professor Emerita of Russian History at Yale University. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford and taught previously at Cornell and at Princeton before coming to Yale. She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Humanities Center, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

 

About the interlocutors: Faith Hillis is associate professor of Russian History and the College at the University of Chicago. An historian of imperial Russia, she has a special interest in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century politics, culture, and ideas. She is the author of Children of Rus': Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (Cornell University Press, 2013), and she is currently writing a book on Russian emigre communities in the nineteenth century. She has held fellowships at Harvard and Columbia, and her research has been funded by IREX, ACLS, Fulbright-Hays, and the Mellon Foundation, among others.Kenneth Pomeranz is University Professor in History and the College at the University of Chicago. His publications include "The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy," and "The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853 1937." He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academe, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, American Council of Learned Societies, Institute for Advanced Studies, National Endowment for the Humanities, and others.

Kenneth Pomeranz is University Professor in History and the College at the University of Chicago. His publications include The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy, and The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853 1937. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academe, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, American Council of Learned Societies, Institute for Advanced Studies, National Endowment for the Humanities, and others.

 

About the series: CEERES, pronounced /ˈsirēz/, is the acronym for the University of Chicago Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies. Together with the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, we are delighted to announce the launch of the CEERES of Voices Event Series, an author-centered series of readings and conversations on books from or about Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Eurasia, and the Caucasus. The books being discussed are identified in a various ways: through publishers’ contacts with the bookstore or through faculty requests to CEERES to host the author.

 

Presented in Partnership with CEERES, the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies at the University of Chicago.

Event Location:
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
See map: Google Maps