Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

All days
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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
U-3 RUR01 Agricultural Improvement and Foreign Models: How Agricultural Improvement in Germany and Russia Got on Track
Västra Hamngatan 25 AK2 133
Network: Rural Chair: Göran Rydén
Organizers: Marten Seppel, Keith Tribe Discussant: Göran Rydén
Tracy Dennison : Improving the Crown Demesnes: Land Reform in Russia and in Prussia
This paper explores the political economy of agrarian reform east of the Elbe. In territories characterized by serfdom, rulers were limited in their ability to tax the peasant subjects of powerful noble landlords, so they tried to extract more revenue from their own demesne lands. The Hohenzollern undertook relatively successful ... (Show more)
This paper explores the political economy of agrarian reform east of the Elbe. In territories characterized by serfdom, rulers were limited in their ability to tax the peasant subjects of powerful noble landlords, so they tried to extract more revenue from their own demesne lands. The Hohenzollern undertook relatively successful improvements of their agricultural holdings in the eighteenth century, inspiring the Russian crown to craft its own version in the 1830s. The Russian attempt, however, appears to have been considerably less successful. The insecurity of property rights and weakness of crown administration in Russia made it difficult to incentivize improvements in the ways that were possible in Prussia. These were the same problems that later complicated Russia's larger land reform and abolition of serfdom in the 1850s and 1860s. (Show less)

Verena Lehmbrock : Untangling the Histories of Economy and Science: the Personae of Agricultural Improvement
Considering advanced knowledge as a prime strategy for improvement, agricultural improvers of the eighteenth century fostered both economic growth through technical innovation and the project of a ‘scientific oeconomy’. This talk focuses on the invention and valorization of new personae during the German debates about scientific oeconomy, such as the ... (Show more)
Considering advanced knowledge as a prime strategy for improvement, agricultural improvers of the eighteenth century fostered both economic growth through technical innovation and the project of a ‘scientific oeconomy’. This talk focuses on the invention and valorization of new personae during the German debates about scientific oeconomy, such as the thinking farmer, which envisioned a convergence of economic and academic practices. The paper will discuss the role of scientification as a cultural force in economic history, arguing that the personae of agricultural improvement helped to push Albert Thaer’s conception of ‘rational’ (profit-oriented) agriculture, which was going to represent agricultural science and a certain agricultural practice in early nineteenth-century Germany. (Show less)

Marten Seppel : Prussian, Danish and other Foreign Models in the Debates over Serfdom and Agricultural Improvement in the Baltic Provinces of Russia, 1750-1820
Using foreign examples as an argument for improving agrarian conditions and the abolition of serfdom was very common in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Central and Eastern Europe. The diffusion of foreign models in order to argue for the abolition of serfdom could be both theoretical and empirical. While marking a ... (Show more)
Using foreign examples as an argument for improving agrarian conditions and the abolition of serfdom was very common in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Central and Eastern Europe. The diffusion of foreign models in order to argue for the abolition of serfdom could be both theoretical and empirical. While marking a developmental difference between the Russian provinces and other European countries, it also provided patterns for the reduction or eradication of this difference. Writers as well as the nobility working in provincial administration sought out foreign examples when considering how useful or safe peasant emancipation could be. As with the rest of German-speaking Central Europe in the Baltic provinces, England was very much admired as an example of excellent agriculture and commerce. However, there were a number of spheres where England could not offer exemplary models and institutions. In particular, for the issue of peasant serfdom Prussian and Danish models were much more popular. The case of Denmark was particularly useful as it represented one of the earliest practices of abolition in eighteenth century Europe. The present paper will study proposals, and the ways in which German, Russian and Baltic economic literature exemplified foreign institutions and practices. To what extent were adaptions of practices or legislation that were proven successful elsewhere adopted in the Baltic provinces of Russia? The paper will argue that foreign models played an important rhetorical role in the criticism of serfdom between 1750 and 1820. (Show less)

Keith Tribe : Setting an Example: Representations of English Agriculture in the Later Eighteenth Century
The writings of Arthur Young, William Marshall, the Annals of Agriculture and the publications of the Board of Agriculture created an image of later eighteenth-century English agriculture that was distinctive by comparison with the more local and diverse writings of societies in Continental Europe. Ostensibly seeking to establish and ... (Show more)
The writings of Arthur Young, William Marshall, the Annals of Agriculture and the publications of the Board of Agriculture created an image of later eighteenth-century English agriculture that was distinctive by comparison with the more local and diverse writings of societies in Continental Europe. Ostensibly seeking to establish and propagate best practice within Britain, this literature also functioned to represent the “English model” to European nations. My paper will seek to establish first of all how the conception of “best practice” was constructed, contrasting in particular Young’s peripatetic reporting with Marshall’s local studies; and secondly, consider how this “best practice” was projected to both domestic and foreign audiences. James Anderson was a farmer who also read and wrote; but it can be assumed that there were few such “farmer-scholars” with the time, or the money, to purchase and read contemporary publications on farming. What then were the local mechanisms through which “good practice” was communicated, and how was this then reflected back in the County Reports and the texts of William Marshall? (Show less)



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