The complex and troubled history of Russia's relationship with the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus.
Orientalism and Empire sheds new light on the little-studied Russian empire in the Caucasus by exploring the tension between national and imperial identities on the Russian frontier. Austin Jersild contributes to the growing literature on Russian "orientalism" and the Russian encounter with Islam, and reminds us of the imperial background and its contribution to the formation of the twentieth-century ethno-territorial Soviet state.
Orientalism and Empire describes the efforts of imperial integration and incorporation that emerged in the wake of the long war. Jersild discusses religion, ethnicity, archaeology, transcription of languages, customary law, and the fate of Shamil to illustrate the work of empire-builders and the emerging imperial imagination. Drawing on both Russian and Georgian materials from Tbilisi, he shows how shared cultural concerns between Russians and Georgians were especially important to the formation of the empire in the region.