Lectures/Jan 24, 2018

Before Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

Before Russia, Ukraine and Belarus lead image

Before Russia, Ukraine and Belarus: Medieval Rus and a World of Diversity, lecture by Valerie Kivelson (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, February 1, 2018, 5:30–7:00 pm

In the centuries before the Tatar conquest, a vibrant society flourished in the East Slavic lands, but it is difficult to put a name on its political system or to pinpoint the elements that united it into a cohesive entity. Defying just about every modern convention for understanding states and peoples, Rus’ destabilizes expectations and demands that we think outside of standard categories. In this lecture, we will try to make sense of the disorderly and fascinating world of Rus’ through use of a variety of visual, textual, and material sources.

Valerie A. Kivelson is Thomas N. Tentler Collegiate Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books, including Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2013), Cartographies of Tsardom: The Land and Its Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Russia (2006), and with Ronald Grigor Suny, Russia’s Empires (2017). She is the editor of Witchcraft Casebook: Magic in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, 15th-21st Centuries, and co-editor, with Joan Neuberger, of Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture (2008).