In March, Dr. Andrey Ivanov, assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, packed his bags tightly to catch a flight to Moscow for a research trip to Russia’s top historical archives and libraries. His trip included a seminar presentation at the German Historical Institute in Moscow on March 17, 2020.
In a litany of circumstances, familiar to many students and faculty this spring, Ivanov’s travel was cancelled. Russia’s libraries and archives closed, the higher education institutions shut their doors, while the Russian capital was put under a very strict quarantine.
With no rapid return to normalcy expected, the staff of Moscow’s German Historical Institute, in record time, moved their seminar venue schedule entirely online. They invited Ivanov to present at an online colloquium, via Zoom, on July 9.
Ivanov presented his research on the topic of “David and Goliaths: Wartime Sermons in Russia 1700-1815.” This project studies the sermons of Russian Orthodox bishops who rallied the country’s faithful during the times of war in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The seminar paper, which is currently edited for journal review, explored the Russian bishops’ image of the enemy, which was key to the church’s interpretation of foreign policy and military strategy during the Great Northern War, Seven Years War, Russo-Ottoman Wars and the Napoleonic “Armageddon.”
“For me, this was actually the first time delivering a research seminar entirely online. It went well,” said Ivanov. “I am thankful to the staff of the German Historical Institute for flawless organization. We had a very engaging discussion and very productive follow up.”
German Historical Institute in Moscow is a German government’s funded organization, dedicated to promoting German-Russian cultural dialogue and scholarly exchange. It draws scholars from around the world for annual conferences, seminars and fellowship residencies. Their online seminars are open to the public and available for registration. For more information, visit https://www.dhi-moskau.org/home.html.