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Products for grant HAA-266553-19

Imperiia: An Information Ecosystem for Russian History
Kelly O'Neill, President and Fellows of Harvard College

Grant details:

Urban Legends (Web Resource)
Title: Urban Legends
Author: Kelly O'Neill
Abstract: This is our attempt to convert 416 plans - 416 thumbnail sketches of towns as they existed two centuries ago - into usable historical knowledge. This might sound overly ambitious. After all, the plans have their limits. They do not describe every town in the empire. Some of the towns they describe no longer exist. They barely scratch the surface of how any one town looked - let alone what life there might have been like. They are clearly more concerned with an idealized future steeped in notions of rationality and productivity than with capturing the messy nuances of reality. Those gridded blocks and neat lines? They are nothing more than a glorious act of imagination. But if you want to know where the breweries or butcheries were (or were supposed to be), this is a good place to start. If you want to know whether small and large towns had (or were intended to have) similar layouts, or what rivers might have had to do with Russian's urban fabric, the plans have a lot to tell us. "Urban Legends" provides 1) access to hundreds of town plans, a subset of which have been partially or fully annotated (in most cases the annotations translate legend information from Russian into English); 2) access to a set of data visualizations built on the textual and graphic data extracted from the plans. It is a resource for teaching and for research into Russian urban history.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The URL takes you to the project, which is housed on an instance of Omeka spun up for the Imperiia Project by Harvard IT.