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Knowledge and the Ends of EmpireKazak Intermediaries and Russian Rule on the Steppe, 1731-1917$
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Ian W. Campbell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700798

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700798.001.0001

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The Key to the World’S Treasures

The Key to the World’S Treasures

“Russian Science,” Local Knowledge, and the Civilizing Mission on the Siberian Steppe

(p.91) 4 The Key to the World’S Treasures
Knowledge and the Ends of Empire

Ian W. Campbell

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the Kazaks' engagement with the Russian Empire's civilizing mission and its application of scientific knowledge to modernize the Siberian steppe. Drawing on the work of Abai Kunanbaev and on the pages of Kirgizskaia stepnaia gazeta (KSG), it considers how local knowledge, some of it collected and developed by Russian scholars, appeared both as a means of seeking the adaptations that would permit a move to agriculture and as a defense of pastoralism on the steppe. It shows that, even as some Kazak intermediaries accepted the empire's civilizing claims, local experiences and experimentation were vital to their articulation in practice. The chapter also discusses the legal and institutional issues arising from peasants' colonization and resettlement to the steppe.

Keywords:   agriculture, Kazaks, Russian Empire, civilizing mission, Siberian steppe, Abai Kunanbaev, Kirgizskaia stepnaia gazeta, local knowledge, pastoralism, scientific knowledge

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