Geschichte Osteuropas und Südosteuropas




Crossing Boundaries. Human-Animal Relations from Post-Petrine Russia to the Soviet State (1725–1991)

Workshop, Leipzig, June 29–30, 2023

29.06.2023 – 30.06.2023

The study of human-animal relations is one of the most promising fields in historiography. We suggest taking a longue durée-view on the interplay of human and nonhuman actors that ranges from post-PetrineRussia to the fall of the Soviet Union with a spatial scope from western Russia to the Pacific Ocean, and from the steppes of Central Asia to the ice shelves of the Arctic Circle.

This motivates us to re-evaluate established narratives of internal colonization (as in the example of the fur trade), culturalization (in pet-keeping and the emergence of livestock farming), and conflicting agencies (as in the rather macabre tales of polar bears and Arctic explorers). Considering the lasting inaccessibility of Russian archives, this also presents us with alternative avenues and opportunities in finding and interpreting historical sources.

Our workshop brings together scholars from such varied backgrounds like environmental, social and cultural history in order to discuss new approaches to an old relationship.

The Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) focuses its research on the region between the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Adriatic from late antiquity to the present day in a comparative perspective. We examine transformations and entanglements in a globalizing world. The institute thus seeks to contribute to a deeper understanding of political, economic and social developments in East Central, Southeast and Eastern Europe.


GWZO, Specks Hof (Entrance A, 4th floor),
Reichsstraße 4–6, 04109 Leipzig

This is a hybrid event. Participation is also possible via Zoom.
Register here for online participation


Helena Holzberger (LMU München)

Timm Schönfelder (GWZO, Department »Humans and Environment«)

Event Management

Julia Kuhre (
Ines Rößler (

Programme: see flyer below