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Grant number: RZ-50024-03

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RZ-50024-03

Kenneth N. Owens
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar

Alexander Baranov and Russia's Multi-Cultural Borderlands Empire in North America

The production of a biography of Alexander Baranov, the administrator of the Russian-American Company's colonies in Alaska and California in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (28 months)

Two experienced scholars, one American and one Russian, will collaborate on a study of early colonial Russian America as a multicultural borderlands empire. Their work will center on Alexander Baranov (1747-1818), the first chief administrator of the Russian-American Company and a pivotal figure in founding Russia's American empire. A brilliant frontier entrepreneur, Baranov was also a colony builder whose paternalistic policies fostered the well-being of Alaska's Native Inuit peoples and especially the mixed-race Creole population. Under his management, Russian Alaska and the California Ross Colony became striking examples of the "middle ground" phenomenon, where European and native cultures met and intermixed on comparatively equitable and mutually beneficial terms. These two scholars will examine archival sources and material culture evidence, much of it previously unknown or overlooked, in Russia, the Ukraine, and the U.S. Their landmark study, intended for both academic and general audiences, will be published by a major U.S. university press.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Collaborative Research

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$91,000 (approved)
$91,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2003 – 11/30/2004

Funding details:
Original grant (2003) $0
Supplement (2004) $16,000