Brock professor receives highest academic honour

Brock University History professor David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the country’s top academic body.

The historian is one of 87 academics to be named new Fellows for 2015.

“I’m delighted to see my work recognized by this distinction,” said Schimmelpenninck. “I’m honoured to join this distinguished group of scholars. It will certainly help my work by putting it a bit more in the spotlight.”

Schimmelpenninck is an expert on Russian and Inner Asian history who has written a number of books, including Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration, as well as co-editing books and publishing journal articles.

He is currently doing archival research for his next book, Russia’s Great Game: the Struggle for Mastery in Central Asia, a history of rivalry, intrigue and espionage among the great powers in Central Asia during the 19th century. “Now that Russia’s archives are more accessible, we can finally get a much better picture of this Victorian cold war,” he said.

Schimmelpenninck is also one of the editors of a major international project called “Russia’s Great War and Revolution.” The project involves around 200 scholars from all over the world who are re-examining the events in Russia between 1914 and 1921, including World War I, revolution and civil war.

“This is a major reappraisal of one of the most dramatic events of the 20th century,” said Schimmelpenninck. “As we mark the First World War’s centenary in Canada, we are all paying a great deal of attention to the Western front, but the suicidal struggle between the great empires of Eastern Europe was no less consequential for the 20th century, if not more so.”

And, Schimmelpenninck has been invited to teach a short course on Russian Orientalism at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg next May.

“These outstanding scholars, artists and scientists will be joining the Society due to their outstanding work in the arts, humanities and sciences,” said Graham Bell, President of the Royal Society of Canada. “By promoting and recognizing these leading intellectuals and researchers, the Royal Society of Canada continues to be on the forefront of significant advances for the betterment of Canada and the world.”

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