The Rise of a National Culture: The Visual Arts and the Press in Imperial Russia


ACLS Fellowship Program


Slavic Languages and Literatures

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


This study examines the development of a public discourse on national self-representation in nineteenth-century Russia as it was fashioned by museum culture and popular journalism. Between 1851 and 1900, the visual arts were transformed from an exclusive prerogative of the initiated to a familiar marker of group identity. But the national culture that was formed by the century’s end was first and foremost a discursive construct rather than a set of concrete images. Russian cultural identity was for the most part written—the main corpus of Russian culture took shape in the pages of contemporary newspapers and journals. Popular discourse on visual symbols of nationhood made them accessible to public at large and helped construct Russian cultural identity in positive terms.