With the AAASS annual conference having come and gone, I’d like to extend my thanks to the dozen or so folks who showed up for the Russian Front lunch. It was a great success. We’ll aim to reprise the event at next year’s meeting in Philadelphia.
The big news out of the New Orleans conference involved Sunday’s heavily attended roundtable devoted to “Russia’s Great War in Global Perspective, 1914-1922.”
In contrast to the typical conference roundtable which brings academics together to jawbone this or that subject, Sunday’s gathering served as the informal launch of a new long-term scholarly project. The session’s chairman, John W. Steinberg, announced that he, fellow roundtable members (Anthony Heywood, Steven Marks, David McDonald, Bruce Menning, and Grayson Tunstall) and others have been hard at work laying the foundation for a major new research initiative devoted to re-examining Russia’s experience in the First World War. Steinberg, et al. then used the occasion to describe the broad outlines of the initiative and to invite participation from scholars as well as current (and future) graduate students.
According to the project’s directors (Steinberg and Heywood), “Russia’s Great War in Global Perspective” aims to produce seven volumes of new essays each dedicated to a separate theme concerning the War in the “East.” These are:
1. Military Operations
2. Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs
3. European Russia
4. Empire (Western borderlands, Caucasus, Central Asia)
5. The Far East
6. Central and South-Eastern Europe
The compilation of these volumes will involved perhaps as many as 150-200 separate contributing members drawn from scholars across the globe. Publication will be timed to coincide with the centennial of the War, Revolutions, and Civil War (2014-2022). [An eighth “virtual” volume incorporating the latest in new media technologies is also in the works.]
In short, it’s an immensely ambitious and important project; one that promises to fundamentally alter the way historians and laypersons understand World War I and to shape research agendas for the next hundred years.
You’ll be hearing more (perhaps, a lot more) about “Russia’s Great War” here at TRF in the future. In the meantime, kudos to these historians for thinking big about the twentieth century’s most important conflict.