Exceptional Subjects: Koreans in the Russian Far East and the Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing

Date: 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 4:30pm to 5:45pm

Location: 

Room S354, CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, MA 02138

Historian's Seminar Series; Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and co-sponsored by the Korea Institute

Sergey Glebov, Associate Professor of History, Smith College and Amherst College

Sergey Glebov is a historian of imperial Russia and Soviet Union. His first research project focused on the history of the Eurasianist movement, a Russian emigre ideological group which reimagined the imperial space in the wake of the revolution of 1917 as a geographic, historical, ethnographic, and linguistic unity.  He is currently working on the history of the Russian Far East between 1850 and 1940. His publications include Evraziistvo mezhdu imperiei i modernom (istoriia v dokumentakh) (Moscow, NLO: 2009),  Between Europe and Asia: The Origins, Theories, and Legacies of Russian Eurasianism (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 2015) (co-edited with M. Bassin and M. Laruelle), and From Empire to Eurasia: Politics, Scholarship and Ideology in Russian Eurasianism, 1920s – 1930s (DeKalb, Ill: Northern Illinois University Press, 2017). Glebov is also a founding editor of Ab Imperio: Studies in New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space.

Chaired by Terry Martin, George F. Baker III Professor of Russian Studies in the History Department at Harvard University

Abstract
In 1938-39, Soviet Koreans were forcibly removed from the Russian Far East and resettled in Central Asia and Siberia. This Stalinist ethnic cleansing is usually attributed to fears about the Koreans' loyalty in the context of Soviet-Japanese conflicts. By tracing the complicated history of Korean subjecthood in the late imperial and early Soviet period, the talk demonstrates that plans for Korean resettlement matured in the imperial period and were rooted as much in the history of settler colonialism as they were in anxieties about sovereignty and loyalty. These challenges to imperial rule did not disappear in 1917, as the Soviet authorities pursued a policy of promotion of nationalities along with plans for massive colonization of the Soviet Far East.