October issue of the American Historical Review
Aleksei Venetsianov, Reapers (1820s). Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. When serfs were manumitted in imperial Russia, they were required to choose a new official social status, and with it a new occupation. As a result, they were required to join an estate society. According to author Alison K. Smith, this means that freed serfs lived in a society without a category of "free people." This fact, she argues in "Freed Serfs without Free People: Manumission in Imperial Russia," has served to obscure both the former serfs themselves and the very conception of freedom, necessitating a reassessment of the many ways in which the linked concepts of authority and freedom were understood in late-eighteenth- through mid-nineteenth-century Russia. In the end, she says that manumission may have more to say about the quality of freedom than it does about the quality of serfdom.
The AHR is currently edited by IU History professor Rob Schneider and employs seven graduate students who are trained as editorial assistants. As the official publication of the American Historical Association, the journal aims to serve the interests of the entire discipline of history.