Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

1/1/2008 - 7/31/2008

Funding Totals

$29,400.00 (approved)
$29,400.00 (awarded)

Russian Colonization of Early America on Kodiak Island, 18th-19th Centuries

FAIN: FB-53882-08

Gwenn A. Miller
College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA 01610-2395)

Using virtually untapped sources such as Russian imperial decrees, Orthodox Church records, ethnographies, travel journals, and fur trade company correspondence, this project offers a Pacific vision of colonization in North America. The story of European expansion into the American West has often been stereotyped, romanticized, and criticized. Nevertheless, it remains a canonical mainstay of American history. Far less familiar is its eastward-moving counterpart: the story of Russia's expansion out from Musovy, first over the Ural Mountains and across Siberia, and then across the Pacific to Kodiak Island, Alaska. For a brief period of time in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Kodiak Island became the nucleus of a bustling Russian fur trade in the North Pacific. Attention to the coexisting intimacy and violence of human connections on Kodiak during the period offers insights into the nature of colonial enterprise and imperial power more broadly.