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Research Seminar: The Enlightenment on the Margins? Russia’s Libertine Century

November 17, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Igor Fedyukin

Associate Professor of History, ShanghaiTech University

The Enlightenment on the Margins? Russia’s Libertine Century

The public perception of eighteenth-century Russia is dominated by the imagery of sexual license and debauchery, as two recent mini-series featuring Hellen Mirren and Elle Fanning, respectively, recently reminded us. Yet, amazingly, what we actually know about Russia’s age of gallantry is largely limited to salacious anecdotes about Catherine II and her numerous favorites. In his book in progress Igor Fedyukin sets out to fill this yawning gap and to place these salacious stories into their proper context by reconstructing the social and cultural practices of Russia’s libertine century. Titillating as these might be by themselves, exploring these practices also opens up unique vistas onto the broader social and cultural change that Russia underwent so dramatically in the eighteenth century. The stories of illicit sex and debauchery allow us to explore the outer reaches of Russia’s “Enlightenment” – the spaces where it vernacularized itself, became diluted into buzzwords, and in this diluted form embedded itself in the social and cultural fabric.


November 17, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


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