Spatial Concepts of Lithuania in the Long Nineteenth Century

Spatial Concepts of Lithuania in the Long Nineteenth Century


Edited by Darius Staliūnas

Series: Lithuanian Studies without Borders
ISBN: 9781618115324 (hardcover)
Pages: 478 pp.; 17 illus. (10 color; 7 b&w)
Publication Date: December 2016

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This book deals with the spatial concepts of Lithuania and other geo-images that either “competed” in the nineteenth century with the term Lithuania or were of a different taxonomic level (Samogitia, Prussia’s Lithuania, Lithuania Minor, Poland, the Western Region, the Northwest Region, Lita/Lite, Belarus, East Prussia etc.). The Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, Belarusian, Jewish, and German geo-images of this territory are analyzed in separate chapters of this volume. The spatial and topographical turns, especially the innovative perspective suggested by French Marxist Henri Lefebvre to look at the (social) space as a product of social creativity, research on so-called mental maps, postcolonial studies, and nationalism studies provided some theoretical background as well as analytical approaches for the studies published in this volume.

Darius Staliūnas is the author of Making Russians. Meaning and Practice of Russification in Lithuania and Belarus after 1863 (Amsterdam/New York, NY: Rodopi, 2007); Enemies for a Day: Antisemitism and Anti-Jewish Violence in Lithuania under the Tsars (Budapest/New York: CEU Press, 2015); and Lithuanian Nationalism and the Vilnius Question, 1883-1940 (Marburg: Herder-Institut, 2015; co-author—Dangiras Mačiulis). Since 2000 Staliunas has been a deputy director at Lithuanian Institute of History. He teaches at Vilnius and Klaipėda universities. His research interests include issues of Russian nationality policy in the so-called Northwestern Region (Lithuania and Belorussia), ethnic conflicts, as well as problems of historiography and places of memory in Lithuania.


The research that went into this book is truly impressive. ... This book will undoubtedly become the standard work on this subject for a long time to come.
— Charles Perrin, Vytautas Magnus University, Journal of Baltic Studies, 2017
Darius Staliūnas and his co-authors make an excellent and detailed contribution to the study of the spatialities of national identities with their explorations and explanations of Lithuanian national identity and territory as they emerged and crystalized during the nineteenth century, the age of nationalism. Rather than treat space and territory as unrelated backdrops to national identities, Staliūnas et al. bring these concepts to the forefront and demonstrate how they are instrumental in shaping national identities. . . .the work overall is a great contribution to scholarly literature because it illustrates the role that spatial relationships and conceptions play in the emergence, growth, and development of national identities. The Lithuanian case may seem an unusual example for advancing such arguments. However, through their meticulous work, Staliūnas et al. thoroughly demonstrate that the Lithuanian case brilliantly illustrates broader, more universal processes.
— George W. White, South Dakota State University, Journal of Historical Geography, xxx (2017) 1-2
This fascinating volume offers much more than is promised by the title—Darius Staliunas and his colleagues analyze the place of Lithuania on the mental maps of various ethnic groups, in various concepts of nation and state building in Eastern Europe. The book is the must for everybody who is interested in history of Eastern Europe and in mental mapping or imagined geography as a specific field of historical research.
— Alexey Miller, European University in Saint Petersburg

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Chapter 1: Poland or Russia? Lithuania on the Russian Mental Map
Darius Staliūnas

Chapter 2: Images of Lithuania in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century
Zita Medišauskienė

Chapter 3: The Pre-1914 Creation of Lithuanian "National Territory"
Darius Staliūnas

Chapter 4: “Lithuania—An Extension of Poland”: The Territorial Image of Lithuania in the Polish Discourse
Olga Mastianica and Darius Staliūnas

Chapter 5: Between Ethnographic Belarus and the Reestablishment of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: How Belarusian Nationalism Created Its “National Territory” at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Olga Mastianica

Chapter 6: Lite on the Jewish Mental Maps
Vladimir Levin and Darius Staliūnas

Chapter 7: Lithuania in the Spatial Concepts of Germans and Prussian Lithuanians
Vasilijus Safronovas

Chapter 8: In Lieu of a Conclusion