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humanities 235 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 the limited appeal of Strachan=s vision and its quick collapse in 1881 when Trinity was refounded with a broader religious curriculum and no religious tests, a more comprehensive picture of dissenting voices would be welcome. It is a testament to the profundity and range of this concise volume that the reader wants to explore these threads beyond the walls of Trinity, and one can only hope that such avenues will be pursued in the future. The Founding Moment, which opens with a procession to mark the founding of Trinity College, is itself the product of commemoration, a celebration of Trinity=s 150th anniversary originally delivered in 2001 through the college=s endowed Larkin-Stuart Lectures. When Bishop Strachan stood on the platform to rail against the abomination of the University of Toronto in April 1851, he probably never suspected that Trinity would one day sponsor a work that so effectively undermines his own founding narrative. (JAMES OPP) Wayne Dowler. Classroom and Empire: The Politics of Schooling Russia=s Eastern Nationalities, 1860B1917 McGill-Queen=s University Press 2001. xiv, 296. $65.00 In many ways the history of the Russian Empire B as empire B is just beginning to be written. The central, top-down focus of earlier accounts has in recent years been broadened to include not only archivally based accounts of the non-Russian peripheries but also theoretically informed, empirically grounded investigations of metropolitan institutions and policies. Wayne Dowler=s excellent book on education in the eastern reaches of the empire, from the Volga through Central Asia, is a beautifully written treatment of the very contact point where the visions of imperial agents and the resistant cultures of indigenous peoples met. The central figure of Dowler=s story is the pious Christian reformer and pedagogue Nikolai Ivanovich Il=minskii (1822B1891), who set out to >russify= the native peoples of the Volga through primary education in their own languages. For Il=minskii and others the central task was to prevent the apostasy of baptized Tatars from Orthodoxy and to promote the religious moral values that the educators associated with Russian nationality. Religion, rather than Russian language, was, in their view, the essence of what it meant to be Russian, and through moral education the benighted peoples of the East would enter the fold of European/Russian civilization. As Dowler puts it, >The Il=minskii schools were primarily missionary in intent; they were conceived as part of a larger strategy that also included church services in native languages by native priests as a means of preventing baptised non-Russians and animists from becoming Tatarized and Islamized.= Although it was primarily a phenomenon of the Volga region, the 236 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Il=minskii system became a model for non-Russian education elsewhere in the empire and was supported by the powerful minister of education, D.A. Tolstoi, and the tsar, Alexander II, himself. Dowler demonstrates the deeply conservative impulse behind the system, while appreciating that in many ways promoting native languages worked to enhance the diverse cultures of the empire. Here, despite the russifying intentions of its advocates, was a practical, if ultimately flawed, way of managing a multinational country and securing a degree of integration. The author points out the parallels to Lenin=s later strategy of supporting cultural and linguistic differentiation, while prohibiting political nationalism. Ultimately Il=minskii=s innovations met resistance both from Muslim modernizers, like the Jadids, who favoured a unifying Islamic language and identity, and Russian chauvinists, who opposed concessions to native-language learning. Almost all major Russian imperial actors favoured assimilation of non-Russians. What they differed over was the most practical and least painful way to achieve a single Russian >nation.= Dowler uses the term >nationalism= loosely to describe a number of different phenomena, from a kind of cultural awareness or national selfconsciousness to the racial chauvinism of late nineteenth-century Russian rightists. What is clear is that none of the eastern peoples had a fully developed political program of separation and statehood. Rather than political nationalism, the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 235-236
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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