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Changing attitudes towards living natural resources in the Russian/Soviet Empire and the exchange of knowledge with Europe: an environmental history perspective (ResRusEnvHistory)
Start date: Feb 2, 2009, End date: Mar 1, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This interdisciplinary project aims to provide new historical knowledge about both the patterns of use of living resources in Russia and the Soviet Union, and the exchange of resource use information with Europe. Based upon methods derived from environmental history and history of science, it addresses three key objectives: to analyze changes in attitude towards living resources by different social groups and institutions in Russian/Soviet society; to throw light upon the conflict between international scientific knowledge about resources deployed by the state, and local knowledges; and to consider exchanges of knowledge about resources, their use and users at international level, especially through international exhibitions and World Fairs. The process of changing attitudes towards resources, this being a manifestation of modernization all over the world, had a particular specificity in Russia, considered one of most important factors to have shaped Russia’s distinctive development path in historical perspective. The project will enhance understanding of this specificity, as well as the analysis of knowledge exchange between Russia and Europe, which was vital to both sides but also served to underline the different contexts in which knowledges and practices evolved in the two regions. This issue has never previously been analyzed using materials from several historical periods from the formation of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 18th century to the high point of the Soviet “Empire” in the mid-20th century. The objectives of the project will be achieved through detailed studies against the rich historical context of particular historical cases, for which the archival materials and literature have already been identified.

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