Southern Arkansas University history professor Dr. Svetlana Paulson recently published her article, “Face to Face with the Tsars’ Capital: American Diplomats and Urban Spectatorship in Imperial St. Petersburg,” in the prestigious Journal of Russian -American Studies.

Dr. Paulson’s article is based on his extensive research in the American and Russian archives.

“Working on projects like this is really exciting, even if it requires extensive research of manuscript collections in Russia and the United States,” Dr. Paulson said. “COVID has delayed my research trips to the manuscript collections held in North Carolina and Washington, DC. I look forward to the reopening of these libraries and am very grateful for the support and research grant from the SAU that will make the trips possible.
His article analyzes what it was like for American citizens to be urban spectators in Imperial Russia, a subject insufficiently examined by historians. “I wanted to explore what was unusual about this and how their observations and memories differed from those of the locals,” said Dr Paulson.

Inspiration came from memoirs and journals written by diplomats, according to Paulson who began researching the daily experiences and observations documented by American diplomats living and working in Russia.

What does this have to do with Arkansas?

In fact, a famous Arkansas politician, Clifton R. Breckenridge, served as ambassador to St. Petersburg in the 1890s.

“The amount of detail about daily life in the Russian capital in the memories of the Breckenridge family amazed me, and my research resulted in two publications analyzing their stories,” she said.

His article can be viewed on Flight. 5 n ° 1 (2021) | Journal of Russian-American Studies.

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