Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Producing New Histories

Sometimes, producing history requires writing a book. Or an article. Or a conference paper.

Sometimes, it requires building a database. Or making an interactive map. 

Sometimes, it requires showing instead of telling. Sometimes, it requires relinquishing control to the reader. Sometimes, it requires the visualization of (in)consistencies. Sometimes, it requires the articulation of all the linkages between elements of the historical record. Sometimes, it requires the eloquence of a well-turned paragraph.

We believe that good, serious, scholarly history comes in an endless array of forms. Our job is to match material with medium. To not only produce new knowledge, but to innovate new genres of history-telling.


Well, let's set aside the technicalities for the moment. It amounts to this: we think of each record in our database - and each piece of analysis or contextualization - as a molecule, with its own identity and meaning. The Scalar platform allows us to arrange those molecules in an endless number of combinations. Or, to think of it another way, it allows us to create an endless number of pathways through Imperiia content. Even better, while we are able to create narrative paths (see the Table of Contents), this platform allows you - the reader - to click on anything you like, anytime you like. You get to follow the breadcrumbs. You get to choose your own adventure. So please, allow yourself to get sidetracked or tumble down a rabbit hole. We firmly believe that this is where the magic happens. If we do our job well, you will find here, on our site, a perspective on Russian history that we never anticipated. 

(And if that happens, please do share it with us!)

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