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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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Norming the Steppe

Norming the Steppe

Statistical Knowledge and Tsarist Resettlement, 1896–1917

(p.125) 5 Norming the Steppe
Knowledge and the Ends of Empire

Ian W. Campbell

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on a series of statistical research expeditions to the Kazak steppe and how statistical knowledge provided what seemed to be a scientific basis for peasant colonization, without harming the interests of Kazaks who remained nomadic. As the tsarist state began to endorse a policy of peasant resettlement to the steppe, both advocates and opponents of colonization sounded a note of caution. There were questions about the suitability of large swaths of the steppe for agriculture, and about how much land Kazak nomads might require for their own subsistence. The chapter first provides an overview of the Shcherbina Expedition before discussing the problems that arose from plans to apply the norm-and-surplus system to Semirech'e province that was opened for peasant settlement.

Keywords:   statistical research expeditions, Kazak steppe, statistical knowledge, peasant colonization, Kazaks, peasant resettlement, agriculture, Shcherbina Expedition, norm-and-surplus system, Semirech'e province

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