Article

“Eurocentrism inside Europe”: Progressivism as a Symptom of Eurocentrism and Historiography of the Eighteenth Century Habsburg Monarchy and Russian Tsardom

Abstract

This article is an analysis of the progressive approaches often exhibited in the scholarship in the English language on the eighteenth century Habsburg Monarchy and Russian Tsardom. This article relates to the discussions on Eurocentrism for two reasons: Firstly, interpretation of the transformations in the material conditions of the societies as the primary indicator of material success is the most distinctive characteristic of the Eurocentric historiography. As it will be shown in the article, English and American scholars concentrate on institutional reforms of the Habsburg and Russian states in the eighteenth century, and depict both states as historically successful enterprises so long as the reforms produced new institutional structures. The result is, more often than not, progressivist narratives. In reality, to what extent these two historical entities may be regarded as historically successful enterprises is arguable. And our argument will be substantiated through examples from within the scholarship. Secondly, despite the indisputable fact that much of the historical geographies of both of these states were natural elements of European history, the two states did not operate in a completely European historical framework, primarily due to their idiosyncratic social and cultural milieu which gave both states distinct characteristics when compared to Western Europe. Nevertheless, historians Europeanize the past of these two states through progressive approaches; and they ironically produce ‘Eurocentric narratives in a European historical framework.’

Keywords

Habsburg Monarchy Russian Tsardom 18th-Century European Historiography Progressivism Eurocentrism.