September 17: Willard Sunderland on “Journeys with Baron Ungern: Empire and Biography in the Russian Revolution”

Willard Sunderland’s prize-winning book, The Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution (Cornell, 2014), offers a tour of the Russian Empire in its final decades through the momentous life of Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, a Baltic German aristocrat and tsarist army officer who fought against the Reds in Eastern Siberia and Mongolia during the Russian Civil War and for six fateful months in 1921 pursued a quixotic and bloody plan to resurrect the fallen empires of Russia and China. What does Ungern’s evocative story tell us about the complex imperial world of his times, and what, in turn, does the phenomenon of Eurasian empire tell us about him? Sunderland’s talk explores these questions as well as the tangled challenges of writing biography on an imperial scale.

Willard Sunderland teaches in the Department of History at the University of Cincinnati. He has lived and traveled extensively in Russia and other states of the former USSR. In addition to publishing widely on Russia’s imperial history, he also currently serves as an editor of the journal Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.  Reservations requested because of limited seating.