The Westernization of Russia
In this free web series for Santa Fe World Affairs Forum members and friends,historian Dr. James L. West explores the troubled relationship between Ukraine and Russia from earliest times to the present war. Join us Tuesdays from 10:30am to noon beginning February 14 for dynamic discussions leading up the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum’s symposium April 13-14 on today’s Russian invasion of Ukraine and its many reverberations.
Dr. West employs art and music to trace the course of the tangled history of Ukraine and Russia through cycles of conquest and subjugation, revolt and emancipation. Beginning with the founding of Kievan Rus, he examines the geography and ecology that entwined the “Wild Field” of the steppes with the “Forested Lands” to the north and the events from which founding mythologies claimed by both Russia and Ukraine are derived.
From these struggles, a modern, forward looking Ukrainian nation emerged against all odds to try to join Europe, only to be confronted by a backward-looking Russia determined to reignite those conflicts and drag Ukraine back into the Eurasian steppes. Herein, perhaps, lies the dynamic of the current war.
Below is the link to register for this series. You only have to register once to receive the information to join via Zoom in meeting format, which allows participants to see and hear each other and interact with Dr. West.
Dr. James L. West a specialist in Russian society, holds a PhD in prerevolutionary Russian history from Princeton University. He taught at the European University in St Petersburg, Russia from 2015-17, the sole remaining private university in the Russian Federation, closed in 2017 by the Russian government in its drive to eliminate western liberal thought in the country.
He was a professor of history and humanities at Middlebury College (1995-2011), and professor of history at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. (1971-95)
During his academic career, he was the recipient of several prestigious US government grants to conduct and publish research in and on the Soviet Union which resulted in Between Tsar and People (1991) and Merchant Moscow (1991), Princeton University Press and republished in Russia in 2008which he edited.
In addition to Russian history, West has taught courses on the interplay of culture, society, intellectual thought and politics in Russia and Central Europe. He spoke at SFWAF’s first symposium “A Window on Russia” in 2006 and at our 2018 symposium “Values, Myths and Interests: American Foreign Policy in an Unstable World” on “Up Off Our Knees: The Search for a Usable Past for Russia’s Resurgence.” He most recently addressed SFWAF audiences on history of the Ukraine-Russia conflict via web on August 17, 2022.
He most recently spoke on Russia-Ukraine relations for SFWAF in March 2020
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