Ian Blanchard BSc (Econ) PhD FSAS
Professor of Medieval Economic History and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the
University of Edinburgh
"Recurrent" Professor at the CEU, Budapest
Medieval and Early Modern Economic and Social
Russian Economic History since 1700
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" The Middle Ages: A Concept too Many?" Pursuant upon the presentation of an entirely new perception of patterns of economic development 400-1340 AD in public lectures - "Europe's Age of Silver 1040-1240"- given at the University of Warsaw and the CEU, Budapest in April 1996 and the subsequent development of these ideas in my inaugural lecture at Edinburgh in the autumn of that year, a new research initiative on this theme was launched, coinciding with my appointment to a recurrent post as professor at the CEU. During 1996/7 this involved research on developments in the late Middle Ages 1340-1540 when central-, south-eastern Europe played a central role in the process of economic change. The ideas on this latter theme have been presented during a stay during the autumn semester 1997 at Budapest and a research seminar was held at Warsaw on the 24-25th October of that year to discuss these ideas. This led to the consolidation of a joint CEU-Edinburgh research group of Scottish, Hungarian and Croat colleagues, with the objective of writing a new economic and social history of medieval central-, south-eastern Europe double click to access the work of this (joint CEU-Edinburgh research group). In the interim research was continued to extend the analysis into the early modern period, the results being presented in a paper at the XIIth International Congress held at Madrid 24 to 28 August 1998 - "The Long Sixteenth Century, ca. 1450-1650" - session chairman Eric Landesteiner.
After joining the department in 1965 and completing my doctoral thesis in 1967, my then-colleague Chris Smout suggested that I should perhaps undertake research on the economic history of medieval Scotland. The idea was an attractive one and I began to investigate the available sources for such a study. This survey revealed excellent trade records and adequate, if not rich, urban records. To one familiar with English records, however, documents concerning agriculture were decidedly thin on the ground and the benchmarks of English demographic history-Domesday Book, the 1377 Poll Tax and the 1525 Subsidy- had no Scottish equivalents. I thus considered, at this time, that the task of writing an economic history of Scotland was an impossible one. This preliminary investigation did, however, raise in me a considerable interest in the subject and, over the next thirty years, caused me to undertake research whenever Scotland impinged on my current research interests. However, even after reading all of the work that had come out in the interim, in the mid-nineties I still felt that the task of writing an economic history of Scotland was an impossible one. It was only as I began to undertake work on the general project concerning medieval economic history, referred to above, that a working hypothesis began to evolve for an Economic History of Medieval Scotland, during the years 70-1570 AD, thereby establishing the foundations for and causing the initiation of this new research initiative.
Russian Industrialization, 1867-1927/8.
The history of Russian industrialisation during the years 1867-1927/8 has been characterised by a series of typologies. Tugan-Baranovskii, writing in 1890, saw the origins of Industrialisation as rooted in the nation's kustari traditions, which were only destroyed and displaced in the 1890s by the growth of factory industry . This view was contemporaneously supplemented by Marxist-Leninist writers who also saw the 'nineties as marking the beginnings of the Russian "Industrial Revolution" and of "Industrial Capitalism" in that nation, the focus of their attention shifting from light to heavy industry . Alexander Gershchenkron subsequently further extended this theme. He, in the context of a new international typology of "relative backwardness" and drawing on contemporary Rostovian growth theories and on the earlier writings of the Russian Minister of Finance, Sergei Witte (1892-1903), made State support the basis for the development of those heavy industries. This allegedly provided the basis Russian Industrialisation in the 1890s . Each of these typologies, whilst accurately describing the evolution of particular sectors of Russian industry during the years 1867-1927/8 and generalising therefrom, singularly ignored the development of other important sectors within the fabric of Russian industry. This has been made very clear by recent studies of Paul Gregory whose macro-economic studies of Russian National Income have provided sub-series of industrial output which reveal aggregate patterns of development which do not conform to any of the above typologies. It is accordingly the purpose of this project to empirically explore and elucidate by desegregation, the processes underlying these observed patterns of aggregate Russian industrial change.
Research, Conferences and List of Publications