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Seeds of Exchange: Russia’s Apothecary and Botanical Gardens in the First Half of the Eighteenth Century

Rachel Koroloff, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Junior Fellow 2013–2014

The time granted to me by a year-long junior fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to finish a draft of my dissertation, “Seeds of Exchange.” Having gained a more nuanced assessment of the role of landscape and garden design in the otherwise pragmatic spaces of early scientific practice, I am able to more clearly articulate and to show how the emergence of a cosmopolitan scientific community in Imperial Russia was in close dialogue with its distinctly Russian locale. Participating in the fall symposium, “The Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century,” allowed me to present new work on the botanist Johann Amman and the role of the Caspian Sea in the construction of Russia’s botanical empire. The spring symposium, “Sound and Scent in the Garden,” similarly gave me the rare and enviable opportunity to engage for the first time with literature on the history of the senses. The resulting two papers have fundamentally restructured my approach to the lived experience of Muscovite political and religious culture through garden creation. The scholarly community at Dumbarton Oaks, especially the mentorship extended to me by John Beardsley and Anatole Tchikine, has fundamentally influenced my approach to garden history and landscape studies. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the librarians and all the studies directors, but especially to the other fellows at Dumbarton Oaks, for enriching my research at such an early stage and for setting a strong precedent for collegiality and scholarship in my future.