My project examines Russia's imperialism and colonization of Azov and Black Sea region in the 19th century. The colonization of the Black and Azov Sea region was a part of Russia’s colonization of the Eurasian steppe belt. Among numerous groups of population that were engaged and contributed to the imperial project of steppe colonization, my research focuses on German speaking people from Central and Western Europe, mainly Lutherans and Catholics, to be designated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries imperial discourse as “German” colonists.
The main purpose of my dissertation is to study if and in what way Russia’s imperialism and colonization in a region influenced and shaped German colonists’ marriage and family/sexual life. The vantage point of my analysis is the steppeland around the northern shores of the Black Sea, which during the imperial rule was redrawn into entity called New Russia. Chronologically, the research is limited to so-called “colonist” era, when former foreign subjects, including German-speaking population that migrated to the Russian empire, attained and enjoyed the 'colonist rank'.
My analysis heavily relies on the archives of colonial administration of the Russian government in New Russia, so-called colonial archive.