• Title: The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus
  • Author: Bruce Grant
  • ISBN: 9780801475412
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Captive and the Gift Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus The Caucasus region of Eurasia wedged in between the Black and Caspian Seas encompasses the modern territories of Armenia Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as the troubled republic of Chechnya in so
    The Caucasus region of Eurasia, wedged in between the Black and Caspian Seas, encompasses the modern territories of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the troubled republic of Chechnya in southern Russia A site of invasion, conquest, and resistance since the onset of historical record, it has earned a reputation for fearsome violence and isolated mountain redoubThe Caucasus region of Eurasia, wedged in between the Black and Caspian Seas, encompasses the modern territories of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the troubled republic of Chechnya in southern Russia A site of invasion, conquest, and resistance since the onset of historical record, it has earned a reputation for fearsome violence and isolated mountain redoubts closed to outsiders Over extended efforts to control the Caucasus area, Russians have long mythologized stories of their countrymen taken captive by bands of mountain brigands.In The Captive and the Gift, the anthropologist Bruce Grant explores the long relationship between Russia and the Caucasus and the means by which sovereignty has been exercised in this contested area Taking his lead from Aleksandr Pushkin s 1822 poem Prisoner of the Caucasus, Grant explores the extraordinary resonances of the themes of violence, captivity, and empire in the Caucasus through mythology, poetry, short stories, ballet, opera, and film Grant argues that while the recurring Russian captivity narrative reflected a wide range of political positions, it most often and compellingly suggested a vision of Caucasus peoples as thankless, lawless subjects of empire who were unwilling to acknowledge and accept the gifts of civilization and protection extended by Russian leaders.Drawing on years of field and archival research, Grant moves beyond myth and mass culture to suggest how real life Caucasus practices of exchange, by contrast, aimed to control and diminish rather than unleash and increase violence The result is a historical anthropology of sovereign forms that underscores how enduring popular narratives and close readings of ritual practices can shed light on the management of pluralism in long fraught world areas.

    One Reply to “The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus”

    1. In my studies of Russia and the Caucasus, I have found Bruce Grant’s "The Captive and the Gift" to be extremely useful in grasping how Russians historically have come to understand their place in the Caucasus. As the book’s title suggests, Grant specifically delves into how the concepts of “captivity” and “gift-giving” have shaped “the last 200 years of Russian relations in the Caucasus” (pg. xiii). In order to discuss the concept of captivity, Grant explores a plethora of Russia [...]

    2. In his book, The Captive and the Gift, Bruce Grant examines the relationship between Russia and the Caucasus by dissecting the complex “gift of civilization” and its consequent effects. He further argues that in order to “fully understand sovereignty and its many varied practices, one needs to consider how the taking of lives, lands, and resources could so quickly be narrated as forms of giving” (xiii). Rather than focusing on this issue solely through the Russian point of view, as is of [...]

    3. In Bruce Grant’s novel, The Captive and the Gift, he attempt to tackle the complicated relationship between Russia and the Caucasus region by investigating the histories that surround this region. Grant’s book begins and ends with the legend of Prometheus. Prometheus is an ancient Greek god who was banished to the mountains of the Caucasus and was punished by being chained to a rock and having an eagle come and eat his liver for it to only regrow every day in time for the eagle come eat it [...]

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