Online Talk | Chinoiserie in the Reign of Elisabeth Petrovna

Posted in lectures (to attend), online learning by Editor on March 23, 2022

Chinoiserie Figures, Imperial Porcelain Factory, 1752–60
(Jordanville, New York: Russian History Museum)

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Sponsored by the museum:

Ekaterina Heath | Art in Chinese Style during the Reign of Elisabeth Petrovna
Online, Russian History Museum, Jordanville, New York, 9 April 2022, 1.00pm (EDT)

Empress Elisabeth Petrovna (1709–1762), second-eldest daughter of Peter the Great, was an unexpected ruler whose place on the throne was under constant threat. As a young child, she experienced the intrigue and mystery of the Chinese embassy’s visit to Empress Anna Ioannovna. This visit had a lasting effect. The fact that the Chinese desired a relationship with a European country was unique in international relations at the time; yet Russian Empire’s attitude towards China remained ambiguous throughout Elisabeth’s reign. The Empress oscillated between critiquing China and seeking good relations with the Chinese Emperor.

The malleability of art in Chinese style (chinoiserie) allowed to use it to reflect the changing meanings of the East. At the same time, Russian chinoiserie often reveals more about Russian court culture and politics than it does about Russia’s complex relationship with China. Chinoiserie’s multiple meanings also served Elizabeth Petrovna to challenge the norms of her gender to support her legitimacy to rule. Neither Chinese nor European, chinoiserie allowed the Imperial court to define and promote the values and interests of the empress and the Russian state. Join us as we explore this unique combination of diplomacy through decorative arts.

This virtual lecture will be presented live via Zoom. Registered users will be emailed a link to join. If you’re unable to watch the live stream, please fill out this form and we will send you a link to the recording.

Dr. Ekaterina Heath is a Research Associate at the University of Sydney. She has published essays on Russian eighteenth-century art and gardens. Her recent articles include “Grand Tour Memories In Maria Feodorovna’s Pavlovsk Park, St Petersburg, 1782–1825” (with Emma Gleadhill), “Giving Women History: A History of Ekaterina Dashkova through Her Gifts to Catherine the Great and Others,” and “Sowing the Seeds for Strong Relations: Seeds and Plants as Diplomatic Gifts for the Russian Empress Maria Fedorovna.” She is finishing a book on Empress Maria Fedorovna’s use of Pavlovsk Park to influence Russian politics. This online talk is based on a chapter that Ekaterina Heath wrote with Professor Jennifer Milam, to be published shortly in the volume Russian Orientalism in a Global Context (edited by Maria Taroutina and Allison Leigh).

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Opened in 1984, the Russian History Museum in Jordanville, New York, 60 miles east of Syracuse, “promotes the understanding and appreciation of the rich history and culture of Russia and the Russian diaspora.” The museum’s history is closely associated with the Holy Trinity Monastery, founded in 1930. The monastery became “an important spiritual and cultural center for the Russian diaspora, [and] emigres from the former Russian Empire, displaced by revolution, civil war, and World War II, began to view the monastery as a trusted repository for the treasured artifacts and documents they brought with them from their homeland or had painstakingly collected abroad” (from the museum’s website). Responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the museum’s ‘plea for peace’ is available here.

AHA Statement Condemning the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Posted in Member News by Editor on March 23, 2022

While Enfilade is no longer an official extension of HECAA or part of its communication strategies, I am very glad the site remains affiliated with an organization that has been hugely formative for me and so many others. And I’m glad to see HECAA as a signature to the following statement (along with dozens of other academic societies), as noted in an email sent to HECAA members on 22 March. CH

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Last week, the HECAA board voted to sign the American Historical Association (AHA) statement that condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. You will find the full text of the statement below, and you can also read it here.

Best regards,
HECAA Officers and Board

American Historical Association (AHA) Statement Condemning Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The American Historical Association condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. This act of overt military aggression violates the sovereignty of an independent Ukraine, threatening stability in the broader region and across the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rhetorical premise for this brutal violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty is anchored by a set of outlandish historical claims, including an argument that Ukraine was entirely a Soviet creation. In fact, Ukraine’s distinct language and culture date back over many centuries. Ukraine has been a crossroads of the region, connected to countries and cultures to the west as well as Russia to its east.

Over time, Ukrainians have contested both Russification and Sovietization. President Putin grossly simplifies and distorts Ukraine’s history, essentially erasing its distinct past and rendering it indistinguishable from Russia.

The AHA emphatically opposes this unprovoked act of military aggression; that the war is based on such a distorted and tendentious misreading of history makes it all the more deplorable. We vigorously support the Ukrainian nation and its people in their resistance to Russian military aggression and the twisted mythology that President Putin has invented to justify his violation of international norms.

The following organizations have signed onto this statement:

American Catholic Historical Association
American Folklore Society
American Musicological Society
American Political Science Association
American Society for Environmental History
American Society for Theatre Research
Association for Documentary Editing
Association for Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art
Austrian Studies Association
Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
College Art Association of America
Conference of Latin American History
Executive Committee of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Forum on Early-Modern Empires and Global Interactions
French Colonial Historical Society
German Studies Association
Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture
Historical Society for Twentieth Century China
Hungarian Studies Association
Immigration and Ethnic History Society
National Council of Teachers of English
National Council on Public History
North American Conference on British Studies
The Officers of the Medieval Academy of America
Polish American Historical Association
Renaissance Society of America
Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
Shakespeare Association of America
Sixteenth Century Society & Conference
Society for Austrian and Habsburg History
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society for Ethnomusicology
Society for Music Theory
Society for the History of Discoveries
Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender
Society of Architectural Historians
Society of Biblical Literature
Urban History Association
Western Society for French History
World History Association

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