Empires of Conquest and Civilization in Georgian Political and Intellectual Discourse since Late Nineteenth Century


  • Adrian Brisku Lecturer at Institute of International Studies, Charles University in Prague; Associate Professor at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia


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This paper explores understandings of the concept of empire in Georgian political intellectual discourses in the pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet Georgian contexts. Beginning with an elaboration of contemporary political and scholarly understanding of empire, the paper then – drawing on the approaches of intellectual and transnational history – distils two meanings: empire of conquest and of civilisation. Both meanings are mainly attributed to the Russian State in its political incarnations as an empire, as the fulcrum of the Soviet Union and more recently as an entity in search of a Eurasian Union. The paper argues that while for most of the nineteenth century, the concept of empire embodied by the Russia state was invested with both meanings, particularly by the end of the Soviet period, it came to be singularised to that of conquest. More generally, it suggests that in contemporary context in which empire as a political entity is discredited morally and legally, it is easier to detect political entities when they act as empires of conquest as opposed to those in the name of civilisation or other universalising values.                 

Author Biography

Adrian Brisku, Lecturer at Institute of International Studies, Charles University in Prague; Associate Professor at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Adrian Brisku is a comparative historian with interests in concepts of empire, nation-state, political economy and Europe. He lectures at Institute of International Studies, Charles University in Prague and Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. Brisku has published a book titled Bittersweet Europe (Berghahn Books, 2013) and a number of peer-reviwed articles and book chapters.


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How to Cite

Brisku, A. 2016. Empires of Conquest and Civilization in Georgian Political and Intellectual Discourse since Late Nineteenth Century. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 2, 2 (Jun. 2016). DOI:https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v2i2.185.