Volume 12, Issue 1, 2015
Allegories of Imperialism: Barbarians and World Cultures
Tracing the Roots of Colonial History and Orientology in Russia
In this paper, I focus on the idea of identity hybridization, assuming that multicultural models, relevant for each type of state, depend on complex historical,
socio-cultural, and political contexts. This hypothesis directs my inquiry into Russia’s colonial and postcolonial past, contemplated in relation to European development as well as with similar situations in other parts of the globe. My review of intellectual discussions on the topic and of Russian Orientology in particular show that the complexity of Russian national identity can be traced back to contradictions within the process of European intellectual colonization, as well as to Russia’s realization of the Orthodox civilizing mission in its own empire. I propose the expression “secondary orientalism” to refer to the Russian situation.