Historians and historical societies in the public life of imperial Russia

Vera Kaplan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


What was the role of historians and historical societies in the public life of imperial Russia? Focusing on the Society of Zealots of Russian Historical Education (1895-1918), Vera Kaplan analyzes the network of voluntary associations that existed in imperial Russia, showing how they interacted with state, public, and private bodies. Unlike most Russian voluntary associations of the late imperial period, the Zealots were conservative in their view of the world. Yet, like other history associations, the group conceived their educational mission broadly, engaging academic and amateur historians, supporting free public libraries, and widely disseminating the historical narrative embraced by the Society through periodicals. The Zealots were champions of voluntary association and admitted members without regard to social status, occupation, or gender. Kaplan's study affirms the existence of a more substantial civil society in late imperial Russia and one that could endorse a modernist program without an oppositional liberal agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBloomington, Indiana
PublisherIndiana University Press
Number of pages317
ISBN (Electronic)9780253024060
ISBN (Print)9780253023988
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


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