Claiming Crimea A History of Catherine the Great’s Southern Empire Kelly O'Neill

Publication date:
03 Jan 2018
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156 x 29mm
29 b-w illus.
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Russia’s long-standing claims to Crimea date back to the eighteenth-century reign of Catherine II. Historian Kelly O’Neill has written the first archive-based, multi-dimensional study of the initial “quiet conquest” of a region that has once again moved to the forefront of international affairs. O’Neill traces the impact of Russian rule on the diverse population of the former khanate, which included Muslim, Christian, and Jewish residents. She discusses the arduous process of establishing the empire’s social, administrative, and cultural institutions in a region that had been governed according to a dramatically different logic for centuries. With careful attention to how officials and subjects thought about the spaces they inhabited, O’Neill’s work reveals the lasting influence of Crimea and its people on the Russian imperial system, and sheds new light on the precarious contemporary relationship between Russia and the famous Black Sea peninsula.

Kelly O’Neill is associate professor of history at Harvard University and a faculty associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

“Deeply-researched. . .  This is O’Neill’s first book; we can look forward with anticipation to those we must hope will follow.”—Andrew Sheppard, East-West Review 

“A timely analysis…As a contribution in the growing subfield of studies of imperial Russia’s management of its land and people, it mines new sources by integrating scientific studies very successfully into this project.” —Matthew P. Romaniello, American Historical Review

“Kelly O’Neill has made a formidable, almost frustratingly detailed contribution to the history of imperial Russia and the emerging field of trans-imperial history. She has not only produced a wealth of empirical detail but also encourages us to rethink the meaning of imperial borders, borderlands, and spatial categories in general.” —Stefan B. Kirmse, H-Soz-Kult

"In this imaginative and beautifully written study, Kelly O'Neill delves into the little-known history of Russian imperial expansion in the Crimea to offer a fresh view of imperialism. The story she tells is one of grand ideas and epic conflict but also of myriad mundane deals and local arrangements, all of them shaped by the complex human and natural environments of the peninsula."—Willard Sunderland, author of The Baron's Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution