As forewarned, this was a pretty dry reading on the whole, but riddled with demographic trends. For some reason I really enjoy studying demography, so although the reading was dry I managed to maintain some focus, but I digress. Reading this article, at least for me, was the first time I was really able to see the differing ethnicities that comprise(d) Russia. the demographic knowledge at the author’s disposal, Kappeller manages to differentiate between these ethnic groups with this demographic knowledge because it is what the author had to work with to explore these differences. For example, Kappeller writes about how many different ethnic groups, after years of mobilization, began to urbanize. Kappeller writes, “In the case of ethnic groups which for a long time had performed the function of mobilized diaspora groups within the Russian Empire, the degree of urbanization was considerably higher than the 13.4 per cent average… this was true of the Germans (23.4 per cent), the Armenians (23.3 per cent), the Greeks (18 per cent) and, to a lesser extent, of the Tatars…” (287). Russians surprisingly only ranked eleventh on this list of diasporas, although it is important to note that many of the ethnicities mentioned in Kappeller’s work that were part of the Russian Empire during the period examined weren’t always part of the Russian Empire and aren’t today, or aren’t in nearly as great a force (i.e. Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tadzhiks, Lithuanians, Latvians [Kappeller mentions Riga in the reading, which is the present day capital of Latvia]. If Kappeller were to survey present-day Russia in the same fashion, what demographic results would he come up with? Kappeller even admits to the difficulties of this endeavor, mentioning present day Belarus (Belorussia-Lithuania) and Ukraine as contributing to his difficulties.             I feel like it’s very important to point out that Kappeller points his focus towards urban areas because, although not Kievan Rus’, I imagine it would still be much more difficult to come across demographic documentation regarding rural areas than in urban areas, because urban areas are where most of the knowledge and politics of the land spawned from. If Kappeller pointed his focus more towards predominately rural areas, again, I wonder, what results he would find? I’m guessing he’d have a lot of trouble.

Another point that Kappeller inexplicitly makes that I think we often overlook in class is how huge Russia really is, and how the time period we’re examining didn’t have the technological luxuries. What I’m referring to is Kappeller’s examination of Siberian communities that were seemingly weren’t phased by the urban developments that defined western and South-Western Russia. These communities went unphased because they were so monumentally far away from western Russia that it would be impossible for the Siberian communities to have the same development as those in Western Russia.

Black & Grey

The Slavophiles and Westernizers were both “reformist” intellectuals who, on different ideological avenues, envisioned changes for the future of Russia that would progress the state to new plateaus. The Slavophiles were upperclassmen who expressed a fundamental vision of integration, peace, and harmony among men (Riasanovsky 362). They were strict followers of the Russian Orthodox Church and believed it was their mission to help the church reclaim power it had lost. A notable Slav – Constantine Aksakov – described the Slavophiles as a “moral choir” (363). The Slavs were Russian romantics who attempted to tie in their romantic ideals with reason. Slavophiles could be considered peacekeeping anarchists because they stressed free will and free thought, and although they didn’t like the presence of the government they recognized the importance of having a governmental institution in place to keep the peace.

The Westernizers, although also reformists in nature were antithetical to the Slavs in many other aspects. While the Slavophiles were fairly organized and concentrated in their mission of peace and harmony throughout Russian society the Westernizers had diverse and often unclear goals for their reformations. Unlike the Slavophiles, the Westernizers didn’t lean on religion and quite frankly didn’t support religious ideologies to nearly the same degree as the Slavs. It is important to note that the roots of the Westernizers’ differing views probably comes from the fact that the Westernizers came from a variety of different social classes, while the Slavophiles were basically all upper-class citizens. The Westernizers also seemingly had varying degrees of their beliefs in comparison to the Slavophiles, what I mean by this is, some Westernizers simply wanted to promote their ideas of free-will and anti religion while extremist Westernizers wanted to do away with the church and government entirely, a complete redo of the system. Westernizers’ views and goals also changed because they spanned a great period of time in Russian history. For example, Alexander Herzen and Michael Bakunin, two Westernizer authors lived past the reign of Nicholas I (Riasanovsky 365). In other words, these two authors lived through a shifting dynamic of Russian politics, so their goals (in their writing) had to have changed over this time period. Ironically, both of these writers apparently left Russia during their later years, leaving their final marks on Russian society.

Grade A

According to the rubric, an ‘A’ paper keeps the thesis clear and is original in thought. This paper does both exceptionally well. The author lays out all of the documents he/she will present in the paper (no surprise documents) prior to the thesis, and uses these documents as a nice segue into the thesis statement. Every point the paper is carried by an affirmative assertion followed by solid blocks of evidence used to back these assertions, each linked together in a good flow. For example:

“Catherine’s “Statue on Provincial Administration,” by dictating the rankings of persons of power within these provinces, furthermore attempted to eliminate the possibility of another rebellion. For instance, the Statute stipulates that, in the absence of a monarch, rule would pass to each province’s commander in chief. This delegation affirmed that strong authority would govern each province, regardless of the monarch’s physical presence.” (Page 2 of the essay)



Although this phrasing is full of elongated sentences, each phrase beautifully parlays into the next one, and, by building on the preceding phrase, concisely gets the authors point about said document across. The author also doesn’t lose track of his/her own opinion throughout the paper. This is evident when the author writes, “…More likely, Catherine used this stratification to keep track of free peasants. Because each townsperson had to apply for a guild membership, the legal rankings allowed the government to document and oversee its citizens” (Page 3). With very careful diction (use of the words ‘more likely’ to imply the author’s opinion) the author keeps his/her opinion present throughout the paper without losing sight of the focus. The author further gives his/her own insight onto the establishment of these codes, which is evident in the author’s saying:


“Because each townsperson had to apply for guild membership, the legal rankings allowed the government to document and oversee its citizens, consequently reducing the possibility of a rebellion”

With sentences like these and a concise, coherent structure flowing consistently throughout the entire paper, it is easily understandable how it attained an ‘A’.


Stewards and Manners

The Domostroi clearly sets out each person’s role in a household. It is very clear on how one should carry themselves and how to act in various situations. In chapter 35, the focus is on how servants should conduct themselves while running errands. They are supposed to be very conservative and follow every instruction given. They are told not to gossip at any point, and to give the utmost respect to whoever they are sent to. This includes not coughing, sneezing, or taking any interest in a household’s possessions.  For women, The Domostroi also lays out a very conservative lifestyle. They are not supposed to eat or drink at any point without their husband’s knowledge, have strangers in their household without the husband knowing, and cannot drink any type of alcohol other than light beer or kvass. This of course also means that no woman should ever drink alcohol to the point of drunkenness. The man’s role is primarily focused on maintaining the order of things and enforcing the rules set forth. It states that if a man does not structure his household in the way shown, “he will be destroyed now and forever. His house will also be destroyed.”


The Domostroi’s rules all follow the same religious trend. Everything that is said carries the force of God which could mean that it was either followed very closely or possibly very leniently. Some of the roles stated seem to be close to impossible to follow such as not being allowed to do normal bodily functions like coughing or sneezing in front of a master. Like many of the codes written before its content is very religiously skewed. If Christianity was widely accepted at the time then these texts may have been very valid. However, without a strong central authority that would strictly enforce these rules, I find it hard to believe that most people could follow such a strict and contextual code.

Chapters 37 and 38 discuss the proper ways in which to care for clothing and organize the house. Clothing should be kept neatly stored, and free from all stains. The author of The Domostroi takes careful consideration when outlining appropriate dress for a variety of occasions: work should be performed in old clothes, and the very best clothes should be worn to church and when going out in public. Chapter 38, entitled How to Keep {Dishes in Good Order and} Arrange the Domestic Utensils. {How to Keep Rooms} Neat and Clean. {How the Housewife should Punish Her Servants, How her Husband Should Supervise Her, Punish Her, and Save Her with Fear} outlines the proper ways to maintain the kitchen, prepare and save food and clean the house. The author places an emphasis on organization and clean hygiene practices (especially when handling/storing food), and says that entering an organized area “is like entering Paradise” (143).


Chapter 38 also touches upon the issue of enforcing organization and the maintenance of ‘Paradise.’ Wives should be punished with a beating, but should also be forgiven for their transgressions. Children and servants should be punished in a similar fashion, and no one should ever be struck out of anger or hatred. Chapter 39 says that a failure to correctly teach and enforce the mistress, servants and children would result in judgement from God. Alternatively, a master who could teach the other members of the household and maintains an organized house received mercy from God.


The Domostroi puts a strong emphasis on the importance of being clean and keeping an organized house. The author’s decision to use God’s judgement as punishment highlights the religiosity of the time period. Such punishment would have had no bearing on a society which wasn’t devout. The attention to cleanliness is also an indicator that people were not dirty and unhygienic, but rather that dressing nicely and keeping a clean, organized house was a matter of pride. The hierarchal nature of society can be seen especially well in the doling out of punishments: the master is responsible for teaching and discipling his wife, children and servants.


Chapters 40, 48, and 49 mainly talk about the role of the steward in the household. The steward runs the kitchens and all that encompasses, from planning meals to making sure thing are clean in the morning.. They are entrusted by the master with this task, so that the master can attend to other things. Part of the job is to check to make sure the house has enough foodstuffs and arrange for more to be bought if it is running low. There is advice included as to who should be trusted to buy from and how to attempt to even make some money with excess supplies. They should also walk through the kitchen every morning to make sure that everything is in it’s place and in good repair. After the husband and wife talk about the meals they want it is the stewards job to make sure they get what they want. He has buy and give  to the cooks and bakers the proper ingredients, then make sure the food is prepared properly. Afterwards he is in charge of dealing with leftovers and making sure everything is cleaned.

        The position of steward is not to dissimilar to a position you might see in modern times in a large household. Now and assumably then it was the type of thing that a fairly rich family would have. To have your own bakers, cooks, and other serving people that you need someone to watch over them it would be a lot of people. The rules and instructions are quite strict for how they should act which makes sense due to the amount of money they would handle and opportunities for them to steal. It is interesting that a man must consult his wife before determining what the meals for the day will be but it makes sense. Food is stereotypically the women’s job and it keeps her from being unhappy with what she is eating. Overall these rules are very similar to the description of a modern job which is interesting for text over 500  years old.

           The Domostroi, or “Household Order” in English arguably aligns itself very similarly to many seemingly basic ‘codes of conduct’ – especially when referring to property. For instance, people of fifteenth century Russia valued guarantees the same way present-day society does. With regards to servants and their handling of artifact property, the Domostroi places a target on said servant’s back, making sure the servant – if delivering goods – holds himself accountable every step of the way. The Domostroi also lays out codes for how people should conduct themselves as guests in others’ homes, codes that arguably everybody – regardless of a person’s culture – should follow. Some of these codes include not wandering about aimlessly and picking up objects without permission.

        On a similar note, the Domostroi states that guests should always bring gifts to their respective hosts. Hosts are also required to make sure their stock (food, drink, utilities, etc.) is always full (The Domostroi explicitly states, a “sensible household should contain everything that will be used in the house during that year”)[1]. One element of conduct in the Domostroi that is a debatable form of conduct (religion aside) is how women should behave. Chapters 35-49 of the Domostroi state that women shouldn’t drink – ever. It also places (arguably) too much responsibility on the husband with regards to what women can and cannot eat. The Domostroi states that wife’s must ask their husbands about what they can and cannot eat. The code also advocates for self-sufficiency, by teaching it’s readers how to cook, farm various crops, and preserve stock for year-long consumption by taking advantage of Russia’s climate.



[1] The Domostroi, pg. 152



It seems like the Kievan Rus’ empire just dissolved under unfavorable circumstances. The general population became dissatisfied with their Grand Prince in Novgorod, and the Mongols’ invasion of the region further extinguished the flame of Rus’ society. Kievan Rus’ again proved to be highly religious in its political endeavors, and although a split between Prince Ivan and his people occurred – it arguably proved to be a step in the right direction for Rus’ society. Even Kaiser and Marker argue that the kingdom of Rus’ deserved the pummeling it received by the Mongols as punishment for the careless and selfish princes who ignored the wise words of Iaroslav (100).

In line with the ‘princes’ punishment,’ one thing that I questioned throughout the reading was – why was that the reason – the sole heavy hitting reason for the Mongol invasion? Even if Rus’ society was incredibly religious, were they in denial of the Mongols’ strength? Were they in denial of their situation? Was the Mongol invasion a ‘wake up call’ of sorts? The list of questions like this can go on and on, but that’s because the number of lacking answers to questions about this transitional period in Kievan Rus’ society goes on and on. Most of the explanatory language used by the authors is highly religious and ‘mythological’ to an extent, which leads me to assume they don’t know too much about these occurrences (they being the authors and members of Rus’ society).

My stern opinion

While reading Stearns’ full work, I couldn’t help but feel the same lack of faith towards delving into ‘history-ing’ children as a discipline, because I again found Stearns’ focus to be more about the impacts adults and society had on children during their respective eras rather than of the childhoods themselves. For example, Stearns spends a good deal of time examining various punishments enacted on children for misbehaving acts. Similar to our discussion last week, studying punishments (frankly) is convenient! They’re convenient because they have been acts enacted by older generations who can easily recall how they punished youngsters.

Stearns also spends a lot of time discussing issues of inheritance, which I understood but also didn’t understand. I felt like (again), delving into issues like inheritance is a fairly ‘convenient’ way to explore the history of childhood, because again, children aren’t known to be responsible for the handing down of inheritance – they simply are on the receiving end – and usually these children make decisions about their respective inheritances when they are significantly older (no longer children). This, again, to me at least is confusing because is Stearns really getting at a history of childhood by examining aspects of childhood that are essentially placed ‘on’ children by adults – which adults then use to examine the histories of childhood that they create. Stearns also focuses on when children, across a plethora of cultures, begin attending educational institutions. Maybe I’m getting carried away here by labeling these sources as ‘convenient’ and accusing these historians on founding their histories on a seemingly pseudo-basis, but employing enrollment statistics to help delve into the history of childhood is yet again using a source formed by adults to serve their adult needs; but isn’t that what part of the goal of examining the history of childhood is? To essentially examine the roots of adults’ own mannerisms and desires.

Despite the difficulty I have wrapping my head around the foundations of the history of childhood and the history of children, I found an interest in the importance of children’s happiness. Part of this interest stems from a point I made in class last week that apparently made its way into Stearns’ pages. My point in class last week was that because historians have acknowledged the difficulty in processing the history of childhood, some may have delved into it during the 16th-18th centuries but gave up. Stearns acknowledges this when he mentions discussions of children’s happiness occurring during the early 1800s. Stearns writes, “…actual discussions of children in terms of happiness surfaced surprisingly slowly. There were some references in England, around 1800, but nothing very systematic” (157)… in my eyes, this means that the historians at the time gave up because the task seemed too challenging, which leaves our class with a lot of work to do.


Utah Rus’

While reading the Russkaia Pravda, I couldn’t help but laugh a little to myself because in my leisure time I’ve been reading a book called Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, which is a profile of the crazy, extreme Mormon sects that routinely practice kidnapping, rape (statutory & not), marrying girls and women off inappropriately. These are simply a few of the horrible atrocities committed by these extreme Mormon sects. What took me by storm, was how many offenses listed in the Russkaia Pravda were applicable to these mormons. I swear, the Rus’ government would be making loads of grivnas off of these religious fanatics. From page 51… rules 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14… Clearly these mormons would have some serious issues with the Rus’. At the same time, however, I was blown away by how strong a presence religion really was in Kievan Rus’. For instance, Rule No. 19 of the Russkaia Pravda basically says if you leave your wife and kids you get punished. From my eyes, in today’s society – that seems pretty unfair. The next rule however, rule no. 20, cleared up my confusion. Rule 20 states that if a Muslim or Jew marries a woman, they have to pay (I think) 60 grivnas and take her to a convent. Rule 20 helped clarify rule 19 because it showed me how religious the Rus’ were, which is why leaving your wife would be considered a giant problem in their society. The amount of rules pointed at fornication contributes to this notion. I can’t imagine myself living in Kievan Rus’ society and feeling comfortable being there.

Reading the Russkaia Pravda also makes me wonder if the anti-gay sentiments of Russian people are deeply rooted in the highly religious Kievan Rus’ society. Clearly, this is an enormous stretch, but it could be worth a delving into. I wonder how much documentation exists on the treatment of homosexuals during the Kievan Rus’ period – this is also something to delve into.

Foggy History

As a historian in a relatively new field, Mary Jo Maynes’ work reiterates the notions discussed in Stearn and Mintz although with a feminist angle. Maynes narrows her focus down to the history of females, but again (and more importantly), discreetly points to the lack of direct (children’s) historical evidence in this newly developing history. Maynes directly notes this when she writes, “life stories provide a unique perspective on the intersection of individual, collective, institutional, and societal evolution as captured in narratives” (119). This points to the haze surrounding the history of childhood because children aren’t generally known to write narratives about their early lives. Maynes’ piece as a whole compliments Mintz’s work because both works shed light on the marginalized position of the discipline that is the history of childhood.

Pascoe’s and Wilson’s works focus on impacts on children are in severely impact their respective histories, and thus the historiography of the history of children. Generally speaking, both works focus on interactions with children versus first-person documentation. For example, Pascoe delves into the history of children in relation to welfare institutions. Her delving contributes to the notion that it is incredibly difficult to find a base for teaching children’s history because most histories are written from experiences or from viewing documents that are either written or drawn. In Wilson’s work, examining Aries, this same notion of lack of sources (on children’s history) is present. In his evaluation, Wilson preaches the same idea (through Aries) – the only real children’s historical evidence we have is from the top down. Aries implied that ‘apprenticeship was universal’ in his work, and this is pertinent to children’s history because since an apprenticeship involves the interaction between adults and children.

Similar to Maynes, Davin also focuses on the history of female children in her work. Davin also alludes to the lack of sources present to study the history of childhood, delving into how poverty affects the history of childhood. Rhodes’ work was very compelling to read as she focuses her work on the period of time that is childhood rather than the historical process of documenting the history of childhood. Rhodes makes the point that, for the most part, people have a general idea of what ‘childhood’ is supposed to be. Rhodes writes, “As a society then, we tend to both idealize and mythologize children and childhood” (Rhodes 121). Everybody’s life is different, and thus, everybody’s childhoods are different, despite a common perception of childhood. Because the ‘relics’ and ‘artifacts’ would be objects that were given to children, and even if these objects were made by children – there is only so much the said child-worker would be able to divulge about the artifact that supposedly possesses information about the said child’s childhood. It’s confusing. The biggest question I have honestly is why are people putting so much time into forming a history of childhood? Is it the challenge of the history and historiography of childhood that is appealing to the historian? How much do children reflect adults?