The authors intend to provide an overview of the diaries, travelogues, and correspondence of Austro-Hungarians who traveled to the Asian peripheries of Russia during the Dual Monarchy. We aim to contribute to ongoing discussions on colonial discourses of otherness, as well as to the historical development of ethnographic scholarship in Europe. Travel writing, orientalism, and colonial encounters with Asian otherness are closely intermingling phenomena in the modern era. We argue that the rich corpus of visual and verbal representations of North-, Central-, and Inner-Asian peoples recorded by the subjects of the Dual Monarchy provides instructive examples of colonial encounters with non-colonizers in 19th century Asia. Furthermore, we believe that these examples will bring forth a more detailed picture of how the ideas born in the centers of German enlightenment (like Völkerkunde) impregnated the intellectual life of more peripheral regions in Europe. As ethnographic scholarship developed within national research traditions rather than in the frame of a monolithic, European intellectual project, our question is whether or not the Dual Monarchy provided a meaningful frame to bridge national research traditions.
- travel writing
- Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy
- Central Asia
- history of ethnography