Unter Ungeziefer und "Wilden". Sibirien-Reisende im 18. Jahrhundert

Happel, Jörn. (2013) Unter Ungeziefer und "Wilden". Sibirien-Reisende im 18. Jahrhundert. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 61 (1). pp. 1-25.

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In the first half of the 18th century Russia explored its Asian dependency of Siberia. Participants of this exploration were famous travellers like Messerschmidt, Gmelin, Krašenninikov, and Steller whom this article is following on their way through Siberia. They shared a global idea of the government in Petersburg: that the exploration of Siberia should be followed by "civilization" and colonization to secure permanent Russian control. But the travelogues also show how the Europeans themselves changed during their travels through untouched and inaccessible areas. They were stripped of many of their European status symbols, which allowed border crossings in other respects as well or at least made them easier. Sex with indigenous women was one of the strongest aberrations from social standards. Beyond the Urals sexual barriers were being lifted because home was far away. The travellers fulfilled their fantasies, but the sexual intercourse in many cases determined the natives to break off the contact with the Russian invaders who had brought with them sexual diseases or had forced their women to have sex. As representatives of a European scientific culture the travellers were interested in the history of the Siberian peoples and their languages, too. Their fieldwork did not divert their minds from Europe as the Mecca of science. In contrast, they cemented the idea of a supposed European superiority and omnipotence because they pushed ahead the Europeanization of Asia by categorizing and naming flora and fauna. As pioneers, the Europeans also came to their physical limits. This is why they came to learn Siberian skills in order to survive or began to love the country and its peoples. However, the effects of the exploration on the locals were even more disruptive. This can be read from consecutive travelogues reporting from the same region: the cultures encountered by Gmelin, Krašeninnikov, Messerschmidt or Steller a few decades later did no longer exist. With the coming of Orthodoxy, the diseases, the Russian settlers and soldiers they disappeared forever.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Geschichte > Ehemalige Einheiten Geschichte > Osteuropäische und neuere Geschichte (Haumann)
UniBasel Contributors:Happel, Jörn
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Franz Steiner
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:10 Oct 2018 12:53
Deposited On:03 Oct 2018 14:28

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