Wilson Center Experts

Marlène Laruelle

Kennan Institute

Affiliation:
Research Professor and Director, Central Asia Program, IERES, George Washington University
Wilson Center Project(s):
"The Teaching of Nationalism among Post-Soviet Russia's Higher Education System: Cultural Determinism as a Response to Globalization"

My first academic research focused on Eurasianism, the main imperial ideology in Russia, which was theorized in the Russian emigration during the 20s and 30s. The book L'idéologie eurasiste russe documents the emergence of Eurasianism as an original interaction between geographist ideology, philosophy of history and orientalism. It explored how the definition of a Eurasian third continent actually implies the idea of a Russian authoritarian and messianic third way. After this first scholarly monograph, I've analyzed in several papers the contemporary neo-eurasist ideologies and the works of influential people such as Lev Gumilev or Alexandre Dugin, who are some of the most extreme theoricians of Russian cultural determinism.

During the first two years I spent in Central Asia and especially in Kazakhstan (1998- 2000), I switched to a new focus, the Russian minority as a "rest" of the imperial past. Facing the progress of Kazakh affirmation in the republic, the Russian minority feels contested in its national identity and in its long historical presence in the area. For a decade, it has seen the emergence of several secessionist movements asking for the unification with Russia.

My new book, Les Russes du Kazakhstan. Identités nationales et nouveaux Etats dans l'espace post-soviétique (co-authored with Sébastien Peyrouse) allowed a reflection on the very nature of Russian colonialism in Siberia and Central Asia, and gave rise to the question of Russian identity and the paradoxical relations it maintains with both State and territory

.My doctoral dissertation, out of which developed my third book Mythe aryen et rêve impérial dans la Russie tsariste, was about the Aryan myth in 19th century and the way it developed in peripheral European spaces such as Russia. In the case of Russia, the Aryan idea has not undergone the political developments it experienced in Germany and did not serve as doctrinaire foundations for racialist theories or actions. Rather on the contrary, it lies within the scope of old scientific modes of discourse dating back to the 18th century, and seeks to bring in line the definition of national identity, the mythological conception of history and the emerging social sciences. This study contributed to analyze the phenomenon of European nationalism in the 19th century through the history of academic knowledge.

Since my thesis viva in 2002, I have worked solely on the contemporary period. In order to maintain a comparative viewpoint, I am also interested in the phenomenon of academic nationalism in other post-Soviet republics. To that extent, I have spent the past three years-—2002/05—-living in the five republics of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) where I have led research focused on the contribution of the contemporary academic circles to the Nationhood and Statehood in Post-Soviet Central Asia.

My longstanding interest is to analyze the links between science and ideology, social sciences and political philosophy. My long term project is to open up to Russia a tradition of European political and intellectual history which often ignores Eastern Europe. This area should not only be interesting to a small number of "Areas Studies" specialists but connected to the history of European thinking. My project at the Wilson Center extends into new venues and questions I've dealt with in previous works and will focus on the contemporary ideological developments of the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin.

 

Education

B.A. (1994) Slavic Studies, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), Paris; M.A. (1997) Slavic Studies, INALCO, Paris; M.A. (1996) Political Science, Paris II-Assas; Ph.D. (2002) History, INALCO, Paris
 

Experience

  • Post-doctoral Fellow at the French Institute for Central Asia Studies, Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2002-05)
  • Doctoral Fellow of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia, Moscow and Petersburg (2000-02)

Expertise

Political philosophy and theories of nationalism; Russian history; post-Soviet political and intellectual developments in contemporary Russian Federation and Central Asia

Major Publications

  • L'idéologie eurasiste russe ou comment penser l'empire [Russian Eurasianism. A Imperial Ideology], Preface by Patrick Sériot, Paris, L'Harmattan, 1999, 423 p.
  • Les Russes du Kazakhstan. Identités nationales et nouveaux Etats dans l'espace post-soviétique [Russians in Kazakhstan. National identities and new States in the Post-Soviet space], Preface by Catherine Poujol, Paris, Maisonneuve & Larose, 2004, 354 p., co-authored with Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Mythe aryen et rêve impérial dans la Russie tsariste [The Aryan Myth and Imperial dream in the Tsarist Russia], Preface by Pierre-André Taguieff, Paris, CNRS-Editions, 2005, 223 p.
Previous Terms at the Wilson Center:
September 2005 - May 2005: Kennan Institute Fellow: The main task of the fellowship is the preparation and writing of a single-authored book. Nowadays, a large number of Russian universities offer classes or even degrees in culturology, geopolitics, conflictology, ethno-politology or "science of Russia". These notions are in favour of a great Russian power and could be studied as the post-Soviet intellectual circles' response to globalization. This research on the institutionalization of a new type of academic nationalism might prove helpful in the assessment of the true extent of this new form of Russian nationalism and of the part played by the ‘Putinian' political power in this attempt to create a new patriotic ideology that is relayed through school and university.

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