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Dr. Henner Kropp

Dr. Henner Kropp


Doctoral Project

Die Kolonisten in Russisch-Amerika in den Expansionsprozessen Russlands und der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, 1787–1867 — abgeschlossen

The Colonists in Russian-America and the Imperial Expansion of Russia and the United States of America, 1787–1867 — completed

The territorial expansion eastwards over the Ural Mountains commencing in the 16th century was for many centuries a key factor for the development of the Russian Empire and became an important pillar of Russian historiography. In lightning speed the Siberian space was crossed to the shores of the Pacific Ocean and beyond. The Russian influence reached during the 18th and 19th centuries up to today's Alaska and put the very northwest of the American continent – Russian-America – under the control and protection of the tsars as Russia's only overseas colony. There is another country for which territorial expansion can be descried as a central, if not even more important state building element. Within a century the United States of America claimed the entire North American continent as its own area of expansion and ousted all European rivals from the Western Hemisphere, including the Russian Empire trough the Alaska Purchase in 1867. The conquest of the West is ever since a part of the US-American identity and a key aspect of the national historiography. The Russian and US-American interest in Alaska forms the thematic, political and geographical clash between the both expansions. Therefore the Russian colonists in northwest America deserve a special interest from the perspective of foreign policy and imperial history. That they stand albeit outside of the political and geographical focus of the capitals Sankt Petersburg and Washington for a long time makes their role only even more interesting. The project does not focus on the centers Saint Petersburg and Washington but on the Men on the Spot in Alaska, the Russian colonists. The research is based on the thesis that the colonists were confronted with various factors of uncertainty. In an unexplored space they had to cope with the native population as well as other states' formal and informal agents and their agendas. The project aims at answering the questions, how the colonists in Russian-America defined their role within the process of Russian imperial expansion and how their self-conception differed from the interests and goals of the governments in Saint Petersburg and Washington.

Please also see an overview of his project in the Graduate School's 2017 Annual Report.

Curriculum Vitae

Henner Kropp, born in Bremen. 2006 to 2009 B.A. studies at the University of Bremen and Kaliningrad (Russia) in European Studies, History and Cultural History. 2009 to 2012 M.A. studies at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and at the American University (Washington, D.C., USA) in History, Cultural Sciences and Foreign Policy. 2012 to 2013 Associate in the Language Assistant Program CIS by the Goethe Institute and the Auswärtiges Amt in Yekaterinburg (Russia). Since 2013 doctoral student at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, supervised by Prof. Martin Aust and Prof. Volker Depkat, and Research Assistant at the Chair of Southeast and East European History (Prof. Ulf Brunnbauer) at the University Regensburg.


Journal articles and book chapters

Halfway around the World. Russian America as a Part of the Russian Empire. In: Global Humanities. Studies in Histories, Cultures, and Societies 01/2015, pp. 13-23.


Karl Schlögel, Grenzland Europa. Unterwegs auf einem neuen Kontinent, München: Hanser, 2013. In: Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas/jgo.e-reviews, 2014, No. 4, pp. 50-51. URL: http://www.recensio.net/rezensionen/zeitschriften/jahrbucher-fur-geschichte-osteuropas/jgo-e-reviews-2014/4/ReviewMonograph344592801

Presentations (selected)


07/2017: Presentation of the Doctoral Project, Kolloquium für Neuere und Osteuropäische Geschichte, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.


11/2016: The Colonists in Russian-America and the Expansion of Russia and the USA, ASEEES-Convention, Washington, D.C.

11/2016: Die Erfindung Russisch-Amerikas: Koloniale Perspektiven auf das russische Alaska, 1742-1799, Forschungskolloquium zur Osteuropäischen Geschichte, Universität Bonn

07/2016: Imperial expansion into the North Pacific, 1784-1825: distinctions and entanglements from a colonial perspective, Imperial Comparison, All Souls College, University of Oxford


09/2015: Russia: A Superpower on Three Continents and its Recognition in Europe in the 18th Century, Frühneuzeittag "Globale Verflechtungen - Europa neu denken" [Early Modern History Convention "Global Entanglements - Rethinking Europe"], University of Heidelberg

06/2015: Presentation of the Doctoral Project, Kolloquium zur Ost(mittel)europäischen Geschichte [Colloquium on East (and Middle) European History], University of Bremen


11/2014: Presentation of the Doctoral Project, Oberseminar zur Geschichte Russlands und Asiens [Advanced seminar on the History of Russia and Asia], LMU Munich

10/2014: Presentation of the Doctoral Project, 4th German-Russian Week of the Young Researcher: Global History and Regional Studies, Saint Petersburg