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Everyday Life in Russian History

Quotidian Studies in Honor of Daniel Kaiser

edited by

Publication Year: 2010

In a career spanning nearly four decades Daniel Kaiser has produced a wealth of studies illuminating otherwise little understood aspects of society and culture in medieval and early modern Russia. He pioneered the use of anthropology in the study of Russian law, and he has stood at the forefront of applying statistical methods to the study of daily life in Russia, while maintaining a sensitivity to the cultural contexts within which the records were generated. His scholarship has changed the way we understand popular notions of time, the veneration of icons, naming patterns, burial practices, and a host of other topics that collectively unveil the intimate world of family and community among elites and peasants alike. The 23 scholars who have contributed to this volume have come together in tribute to Dan Kaiser and his multiple contributions to Russian history. In keeping with his areas of interests the editors and authors have constructed the volume around the theme of everyday life in Russian history.

Published by: Slavica Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vii

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From the Editors

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pp. 1-2

The editors and contributors to this volume have come together with great pleasure to honor Dan Kaiser, our friend, colleague, co-author, and mentor, on the simultaneous occasions of his retirement and reaching the age of 65. Dan, of course, is famously insistent on historical accuracy and staying close to the documentary...

Life and Manners at Court

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The Public Face of Private Life: The Family-Presentation Ritual in Muscovite Russia

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pp. 5-22

This essay concerns a common rite of conviviality among the 17th-century Muscovite elite—the presentation of dependent female family members (wives, married daughters, servants) to guests during banquets.1 This ritual stands at the nexus of private and public live in Muscovy, for while it occurred...

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Praying for Health, Heirs, Victory over Enemies, and Prosperity: Projecting the Interests of Dynasty through Gifts at Muscovite Royal Weddings

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pp. 23-42

The wedding of a member of the ruling dynasty in Muscovy was an occasion for an extensive and expensive gift exchange among and between the court elite. Gifts moved back and forth on each of the three or more days of the wedding celebrations.1 The royal bride and groom received gifts, of course...

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“It Is Not at Present the Century of Women”: Russian Noblewomen and Court Culture in the Era of Female Rule

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pp. 43-60

In 1773, after a vain attempt to gain an audience with Catherine II, the Count de Solms remarked to the King of Prussia, "It is not at present the century of women in Russia. The Empress lives on familiar terms only with Countess Bruce, and the latter never dares to speak with her about business." Solms...

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Hunting for Dogs in 17th-Century Muscovy

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pp. 61-82

In their introduction to the anthology that grew out of their pioneering conference on human-animal bonds in modern and postmodern Russia, Jane Costlow and Amy Nelson position the collection within the rapidly emerging field of "animal studies," which focuses primarily on examining "how animals shape and inform...

Sacred Spaces and Cloisters

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Fashioning Ideals of Monasticism and Womanhood: The Nizhnii Novgorod Convent of the Exaltation of the Cross, 1802–57

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pp. 85-102

Monastic communities and their members, according to Orthodox teaching, are meant to serve as exemplars of a spiritual and moral life for members of lay society. But because the conditions and conventions of monastic life change over time, so too do the ideals exemplified by its practice. The development of female...

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Economic Reconstruction or Corporate Raiding? The Borisoglebskii Monastery in Torzhok and the Ascription of Monasteries in the 17th Century

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pp. 103-125

In spite of a recent revival of interest in medieval Russian monastic life, the administrative regime of Muscovite monasteries and hermitages and their political and economic aspirations are still incompletely understood. In seeking to counter the negative bias of Soviet-era studies of Russian monasteries, which...

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A Saint’s Intimate Life: The Diariusz of Dimitrii Rostovskii

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pp. 127-144

The lives of pre-modern Russian/East Slavic saints are told almost invariably by other. Official saints' lives, hagiographies, local miracles, and the like are the work of eyewitnesses or authors of post-mortem zhitiia. Leaving aside the obvious exception of Avvakum, it is rare for a sanctified figure of this era, in particular...

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Sites of Veneration, Sites of Memory: The City of Dmitrov and Its Spiritual Symbols

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pp. 145-166

A vital function of any community is the erection and maintenance of the symbols of its spiritual life. In the city of Dmitrov the central symbol since the early 16th century has been the Dormition Cathedral. The story of its appearance and periodic restoration and enlargement has been told recently in a beautifully...

The Experience of War

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Brothers-in-Arms: Kinship and Military Service during the Reign of Ivan IV

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pp. 169-185

On 12 November 1942, during World War II, the five Sullivan brothers, George, Franks, Joseph, Albert, and Madison from Waterloo, Iowa perished when the USS Juneau was sunk in action against a Japanese fleet off the island of Guadalcanal. The brothers had insisted on serving on the same ship when they...

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War and Peace: Rus’ and the Mongols in the 13th and 14th Centuries

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pp. 187-201

The Mongol invasions and the imposition of Mongol rule in Rus' in the 13th century have been depicted by some as ushering in a period of devastation and decline that lasted well into the 14th century. Others have stressed the integration of Rus' into the Mongol sphere of economic activity and commerce, and that the long-term effects...

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The Replacement of the Composite Reflex Bow by Firearms in the Muscovite Cavalry

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pp. 203-227

The Muscovite cavalry went over to carbines and pistols during the course of the 17th century, yet firearms weer not better handheld weapons than the composite reflex bow that the cavalry had been using. The carbine was a light form of musket that could be used on horseback,1 but it had a very short...

The Countryside, Real and Imagined

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The Heritability of Pomest’e Estates in 16th-Century Muscovy: An Analysis of the Experiences of Four Service Families

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pp. 231-246

The pomest'e system, which was introduced on a large scale in the Novgorod lands by the Muscovite grand price Ivan III in the late 15th century, has traditionally been considered a form of conditional land tenure. Hugh F. Graham, synthesizing a definition of pomest'e for the Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, wrote that the term...

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The Great Reformers and the World They Did Not Know: Drafting the Emancipation Legislation in Russia, 1858–61

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pp. 247-275

On its first work day, the Editing Commission, the body appointed to draft much of the emancipation legislation, summarized the previously-established principles that were to govern peasant reform.1 An emancipated serf was "to feel immediately that his way of life had improved, and a lord immediately reassured that his interests...

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Peasant Marriage Custom According to the Birth Registries of Riazan’ and Viatka

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pp. 277-282

The study of the vanished culture of everyday life in the peasant world of the Russian regions has been and remains a complicated problem due to the scarcity of historical sources. Therefore, efforts in this sphere, with a worthy place belonging to the foundational studies of Daniel Kaiser, who devoted...

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Female Social Control in the Late Soviet Village: Comrades’ Courts as a Nexus of Official and Customary Justice (Based on Field Materials from Northwestern Russia)

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pp. 283-304

This paper results from our project on rural comrades' courts, a case study based on field materials from northwestern Russia (village of Shola, Belozerskii district, Vologda region).1 The time frame of the research is the 1960s–80s, when Nikita Khrushchev returned to Lenin's "utopian" model...

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The Evolution of the Gentry in Russia in the 17th Century

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pp. 305-314

Thus far, the Russian gentry in the 17th century has been insufficiently studied. This becomes especially noticeable when compared to the outstanding works of S. B. Veselovskii, A. A. Zimin, V. B. Kobrin, and A. L. Stanislavskii on the history of the princely and boyar aristocracy, the formation of the Sovereign's Court...

Disciplining the Body and Mind

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To Discipline Those Who Teach: The Penetration of Petrine Educational Reforms into Russian Educational Practice

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pp. 317-328

Prior to the Petrine epoch, the practice of teaching children reading and writing skills was a private, family matter, in which the state almost never interfered. The modifier "almost" relates to two little successful efforts by the secular power to create primary schools. The first was by Saint Vladimir, who, according to the evidence...

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Beginning a Civilizing Process: Handbooks of Morals and Behavior in Early Modern Russia

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pp. 329-343

It is fitting to celebrate Dan Kaiser's fundamental contribution to the social history of Muscovite Russia by focusing on the theme of "daily life." Dan has assiduously scoured sources for evidence of "lived experience"—wills, deeds, censuses, and the like—and has opened fascinating new windows into the lives early...

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Murder as “Intertextual Death” in Late Imperial Russia

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pp. 345-357

The editors of the new journal Sudebnye dramy (Court Dramas) proclaimed in 1892 that "literature used to provide the mirror to our life, but now criminal trials do."1 Self-interested entrepreneurs cashing in on the public's growing appetite for crime, they were exaggerating the demise of...

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Torture, Truth, and Embodying the Intangible in Muscovite Witchcraft Trials

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pp. 359-373

Torture as a formal practice of judicial investigation has a soberingly wide and deep history and has returned to the forefront of legal and ethical debate in recent years, animated by vivid photographic images and personal accounts by both the practitioners and victims of torture. Consigned to the dustbin of history by the triumphant...


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Appreciating The Growth of Law in Medieval Russia

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pp. 377-390

Thus commences the remarkably well researched and thought out Ph.D. dissertation of our late friend, teacher, and colleague Richard Hellie,1 which sets the stage for my few comments on the significance of the work of his Ph.D. student Daniel Kaiser on early Russian law. For I do not think that it would be far-fetched to argue...

Publications of Daniel H. Kaiser

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pp. 391-397

E-ISBN-13: 9780893578787
E-ISBN-10: 0893578789
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573782
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573787

Page Count: 405
Publication Year: 2010