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A Well-Ordered Thing$
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Michael D. Gordin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172385

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172385.001.0001

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The Imperial Turn

The Imperial Turn

Economics, Evolution, and Empire

(p.136) Chapter 6 The Imperial Turn
A Well-Ordered Thing
Michael D. Gordin
Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses Dmitrii Mendeleev's “Imperial Turn.” Mendeleev had two productive reactions to his rough treatment at the hands of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. First came disillusionment with the potential of local scientific societies to overcome personal prejudices. He concluded that perhaps such societies were not the best way to mediate cultural conflict in Imperial Russia. As such, Mendeleev began to reinterpret the legacy of the Great Reforms. From believing that they were about turning state power over to a newly created public sphere, he came to believe that the Reforms' significance lay in the power of the bureaucracy to transcend personal animosity for the greater good. In February 1882, Mendeleev outlined a reform program for an institution he had previously exempted from criticism: the Imperial Academy of Sciences. His second reaction to the Academy affair was to take to heart the image of a rugged individualist given to him by the Petersburg dailies.

Keywords:   Dmitrii Mendeleev, scientific societies, cultural conflict, Imperial Russia, Great Reforms, bureaucracy, Imperial Academy of Sciences

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