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Read Zamiatin, but Not to Correct His Math

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2017

Extract

I thank Alessandro Stanziani and the editors of Slavic Review for bringing the problem of quantitative economic history to a diverse readership. Colleagues divided between departments (economics and history) and by method (positivist and critical) tend not to publish in the same journals or attend the same panels. This is a rare opportunity to share in a discussion. Allow me to use Stanziani’s points as an occasion to go further and to discuss how I have appreciated numbers in some of my research because I am, as he puts it and as I agree, radical.

Type
Critical Forum on Statistics
Copyright
Copyright © Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2017 

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References

1. This is the “rising expectations” thesis: de Tocqueville, Alexis, The Old Regime and the French Revolution (Chicago, 1998)Google Scholar, part III, chapter 4.

2. For an example from literature, see Lounsbery, Anne, “The World on the Back of a Fish: Mobility, Immobility, and Economics in Oblomov ,” Russian Review 70, no. 1 (January 2011): 4364 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3. Hacking, Ian, The Taming of Chance (Cambridge, 1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Porter, Theodore M., The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900 (Princeton, NJ, 1986)Google Scholar.

4. Kotsonis, Yanni, States of Obligation: Taxes and Citizenship in the Russian Empire and the Early Soviet Republic (Toronto, 2014), 62Google Scholar, with the sources shared by David Darrow.

5. On state ignorance in the 1850s, see Hoch, Stephen, “The Great Reformers and the World They Did Not Know: Drafting the Emancipation Legislation in Russia, 1856–61,” in Marker, Gary, Neuberger, Joan, Poe, Marshall, and Rupp, Susan, eds., Everyday Life in Russian History: Quotidian Studies in Honor of Daniel Kaiser (Bloomington, IN, 2010)Google Scholar; Kotsonis, States of Obligation, 42–49 (on the problem of equivalencies and the absolute dearth of data), chapters 8–9 (on the use of aggregate data, the absence of data on peasant incomes, and the “practices of uncertainty” that resulted).

6. Hoch, Stephen, “On Good Numbers and Bad: Malthus, Population Trends and Peasant Standard of Living in Late Imperial Russia,” Slavic Review 53, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 4175 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7. Kotsonis, States of Obligation, 89–90, compared with methods of peasant evaluation in chapters 8–9.

8. Darrow, David R., “Statistics and ‘Sufficiency’: Toward an Intellectual History of Russia’s Rural Crisis,” Continuity and Change 17, no. 1 (May 2002): 6396 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9. Gregory, Paul has produced some very good estimates in an effort to compensate: Russian National Income, 1885–1913 (Cambridge, 1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; my doubts in Kotsonis, States of Obligation, 249–51, including contemporary efforts to extrapolate peasant incomes.

10. Kotsonis, , Making Peasants Backward: Agricultural Cooperatives and the Agrarian Question in Russia, 1861–1914 (London, 1999), 3640 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, on the term used abroad and the difficulty of adopting it in Russia; and again in States of Obligation, 7–8.

11. Kotsonis, , “The Problem of the Individual in the Stolypin Land Reforms,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 12, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 2552 Google Scholar.

12. Kotsonis, States of Obligation, 316–30.

13. Kotsonis, Making Peasants Backward, 85–87.

14. Kotsonis, “The Problem of the Individual.”

15. Kotsonis, States of Obligation, 262.

16. Ibid., 238–42.

Ibid

17. Ibid., chapters 3–4.

Ibid

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