Inauguration lecture

Press release — 15 November 2011

On November 23, 2011 Viacheslav Morozov, Professor for EU-Russia Studies at the Institute of Government and Politics, University of Tartu will give his inauguration lecture entitled:

Subaltern Empire? How Postcolonial Theory Helps Us to Understand Russian Foreign Policy

The lecture will be held at 16:00 at the University aula (main building, Ülikooli 18)

Postcolonial theory has been developed as a form of critically reassessing the legacy of colonialism and imperialism in the relations between the West and “the Third World”. Using this perspective in post-Soviet studies is a relatively new, but increasingly popular and productive approach. From this vantage point, Russia’s position in the international system is somewhat paradoxical: depending on the aspect of the situation, it can be considered both as an empire and as a subaltern actor facing the overwhelming hegemony of the West. This undecidable position produces a lot of tension in the Russian debate on national identity and foreign policy. On the one hand, Russia is one of the most outspoken opponents of the existing world order, criticising the West for its interventionism. On the other hand, Russia still wants to present itself as a great power, thus claiming “special responsibilities” and other attributes of an imperial centre. After explicating these tensions, the lecture will conclude with analysing their impact on foreign policy practice.

Viacheslav Morozov graduated from the Faculty of History of the St. Petersburg State University in 1994 and received his Master’s degree in European Integration from the University of Limerick in 1996. In 1997, he defended his PhD in contemporary European history at the St. Petersburg State University. From 1997 and until moving to Tartu in February 2010, he worked at the School of International Relations of the St. Petersburg State University. In 2003–2010, he was also Director of the International Relations and Political Science Programme at the Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the same university. In January 2011, he was elected Professor of EU-Russia Studies of the University of Tartu. Since April 2011, he is also chair of the CEURUS Council.

Professor Morozov’s research interests lie in the field of poststructuralist and postcolonial political theory, as well as Russian national identity and foreign policy, in particular Russia’s relations with the EU. His most recent book, Russia and the Others: Identity and Boundaries of a Political Community, was published in 2009 by the NLO Books in Moscow. His articles have appeared, inter alia, in Cooperation and Conflict, Global Governance, Journal of Baltic Studies, Journal of International Relations and Development, and Russia in Global Affairs.

For more information on publications and current projects, please visit Prof Morozov’s website