How do we communicate? The modern world has any number of communications technologies; you are reading this on one of them. But your communication device was not available to people in the early modern Russian empire, who still needed to exchange questions, answers, thoughts, and ideas. A new volume – Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 – considers the various ways in which official and unofficial communications were made in and around the Russian Empire. One chapter is by NU’s historian of science Clare Griffin, and deals with bureaucracy as communication. ‘Bureaucracy and Knowledge Creation: The Apothecary Chancery’ takes the Russian Empire’s official medical department, the Apothecary Chancery, as a case study, following that department’s involvement in a witchcraft trial, to show how paperwork making its way through that department linked together the knowledge of the medical practitioners with the concerns of the Russian bureaucrats, and circulated physicians’ answers to bureaucrats’ questions around the department, the Kremlin, and the broader Russian imperial bureaucracy.
Appropriate to the theme of communication, both Professor Griffin’s chapter, and the volume as a whole, are available as free, Open Access, pdfs. Get your copy here.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Griffin on her latest publication!