When I Served the Post as a Coachman: Social Obligation in the History of Communication
For nearly 400 years, like many empires before it, the Russian Empire used a post horse relay system as its basic communications system. Officials–and later paying private travelers–were provided with horses, at a series stations set ~30 kilometers apart, by populations obligated (as imperial subjects) to do so. In this informal talk, John Randolph of UIUC History will describe his attempt to write a history of this institution. In particular, he hopes to discuss with the audience the larger theme of obligation in the history of communications. How well have scholars described–not merely the ‘flows’ and infrastructural ‘scapes’ created by communications systems, but the ways they depend upon social contributions drawn from populations by obligatory, political means?
When I Served the Post as a Coachman: Social Obligation in the History of Communication was presented on April 13th, 2015, by John Randolph, Associate Professor of History. A recording of the event is available.
In recognition of his scholarly achievement, Dr. Randolph has previously been named Conrad Humanities Scholar and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois. His prize-winning book, The House in the Garden: The Bakunin Family and the Romance of Russian Idealism, was published in 2007 by Cornell University Press.