Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

History

Committee Member

Dr. Caroline Dunn, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Michael L. Meng

Committee Member

Dr. Michael S. Silvestri

Abstract

This thesis examines the views of Germans on the people and institutions of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Early Modern period. While German opinions of Eastern Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been well researched, there is a gap in the historiography for the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. German perceptions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia ranged from those who stereotyped the East as a backward, uncivilized place to be dominated or changed to those who appreciated and celebrated various aspects of Polish or Russian culture. By analyzing the views of German intellectuals, travelers, rulers and others on Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is possible to understand the complex nature of Early Modern German views of the East before they were influenced by biologically-based racism and ethnic nationalism.

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