Author Archives: John Randolph

About John Randolph

John Randolph is Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois.

Sosloviia in Individual and Collective Lives

Before reading Alison K. Smith’s new book, I had two broad visions of sosloviia in Imperial Russian life, one a dream, the other a nightmare. Both centered on its meaning for collective, rather than individual, life.

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The Ebola Czar and American Czars in General (Open Thread)

So the NY Times is proclaiming that Obama is thinking about creating an ‘Ebola Czar‘.  One of the oddities of the modern American world, indeed, is a love of the idea of a “czar”: almost any time a major public … Continue reading

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Just in Time for Teaching (English Language Sources for Russian History)

There may be a few teachers out there working on syllabi, as well as students and other researchers considering topics in Russian history.  For decades, the great Anthony Cross has helped scholars discover the corpus of English-language testimonies about Russia … Continue reading

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Scalar for Historians (Tutorial)

Just a quick follow-up to my earlier post about Scalar, an open source web authoring tool produced by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, of which the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities is a member. We’re trying out … Continue reading

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Summer Research Lab 2014: At Your Service!

Are we hosting the Summer Research Lab this year at Illinois? You bet!  As in each of the previous forty years, we look forward to seeing researchers of all disciplines and career stages here in Champaign-Urbana, to participate in workshops, … Continue reading

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Scalar and the Challenge of Writing Media-Rich Scholarship for the Web

Alright, I admit that title was a mouthful.  Basically, I just wanted to alert readers who may not have heard of it that there’s a new, web-based digital authoring tool called Scalar that they may find useful.  It’s an open-source … Continue reading

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Open Access: The Summer Research Lab at Illinois

As a footnote to last month’s discussion on access, I wanted to put in a plug for our annual Summer Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Obviously, nothing is as cheap or convenient as reading on your own computer … Continue reading

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Calling All Eurasians

To return to a theme from my previous post, I thought I’d mention that the University of Illinois’s Brittle Books Project–a long term initiative meant to save books subject to slow fire and other maladies–has taken a digital turn.  Some … Continue reading

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Istochnikovedenie 2012

Digital publishing and distribution are creating a whole new host of issues for historians to deal with, in the realm of source use, authentication, and citation. Obviously, that’s been true for some time now: we’re gradually getting up to speed … Continue reading

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Imagining the Petersburg-Moscow Road in the Late 18th Century

How do you imagine what a road was, historically?  Quite often, histories of transport describe histories of surfaces: the evolution of building techniques, say, from wooden planks to macadamized stone to modern asphalt or concrete. Alternatively, roads are presented as … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Imperial Russia, Russia in World History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

‘The Party of Swindlers and Thieves’

Where did you first hear Putin’s party, United Russia, called the “party of swindlers and thieves” (partiia zhulikov i vorov)?  On a blog? On TV? Here, just now?  Here’s an example (see image below).  One of the things historians of … Continue reading

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Valdai Bells

Here’s an animated short that takes as its subject the so-called ‘legend of the Valdai bells.’ Variously told, the legend goes something like this. In the 1470s, Prince Ivan III of Moscow ordered the great bell of Novgorod—used to summon … Continue reading

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The Full Weight of the Law

The Imperial Russian government produced an immense volume of paperwork. In a recent article on the Russian “Graphosphere” (that is to say, the world of writing) in the early 19th century, Simon Franklin notes that as many as 30 million … Continue reading

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My Favorite Laws

In my first post, I promised to blog about life on Russia’s roads in the eighteenth-century, and also about the “after-life” of the Russian Empire, as it is finding expression in the digital realm. Here’s something that combines a little … Continue reading

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New Arrival

Hello, everyone! My name is John Randolph, I’ll be blogging here for the coming year (at least), and I’m grateful to Steven Barnes and colleagues for getting this blog rolling. I’m an Associate Professor of History at the University of … Continue reading

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