Introduction: The Universal Experience of Exile

  • Andrew A. Gentes


Exile is among the oldest of punishments. The prospect of being expelled by one’s community or dispatched by the authorities evokes profound and universal dread across time and place. Literary traditions from around the world recount how both gods and men have used exile. When Zeus defeated his father Cronus he also banished the other Titans, save Ocean, Hyperion and Mnemosyne. In the Japanese creation myth Nihongi the gods Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto give birth to the particularly cruel Sosa-no-wo-no-Mikoto, whom they expel saying, ‘Thou art exceedingly wicked …. Certainly thou must depart far away to the Nether-Land.’ Sosa is banished to the Rock-cave of Heaven, where she is imprisoned behind the Rock-door.l Sophocles uses the exile motif in Oedipus at Colonus, sending the blind and outcast Oedipus to wander with his daughter Antigone through foreign lands. When Oedipus confronts two people he had known when he was king he cries:

These were the two

Who saw me in disgrace and banishment

And never lifted a hand for me. They heard me

Howled from the country, heard the thing proclaimed!

And will they say I wanted exile then,

An appropriate clemency, granted by the state?

That is all false! The truth is that at first

My mind was a boiling cauldron; nothing so sweet

As death, death by stoning, could have been given me … 2


Literary Tradition Penal Laborer Universal Experience Siberian History Penal Reform 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    W. G. Aston, trans., Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 607, Transactions and Proceedings of The Japan Society, Supplement I (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1896), excerpted in The Global Experience: Readings in World History to 1550, Volume I, 4th edn., ed. Philip F. Riley et al. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002), 9–10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robert Fitzgerald, trans., ‘Oedipus at Colonus’, in Sophocles I, ed. David Grene and Richmond Lattimore (1954; rpt. New York: Washington Square Press, 1967), 101.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Erin Mooney, ‘The Concept of Internal Displacement and the Case for Internally Displaced Persons as a Category of Concern’, Refugee Survey Quarterly 24, no. 3 (2005): 9–26;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Wendy Everett and Peter Wagstaff, eds., Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004);Google Scholar
  5. Mahnaz Afkhami, Women in Exile (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994);Google Scholar
  6. Ingrid E. Fey and Karen Racine, eds., Strange Pilgrimages: Exile, Travel, and National Identity in Latin America, 1800–19905 (Wilmington, DE.: Scholarly Resources, 2000);Google Scholar
  7. Hamid Naficy, The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  8. Bülent Diken and Carsten Bagge Laustsen, The Culture of Exception: Sociology Facing the Camp (London: Routledge, 2005);Google Scholar
  9. Roelof Hortulanus et al., Social Isolation in Modern Society (London: Routledge, 2006);Google Scholar
  10. Ronaldo Munck, Globalization and Social Exclusion: A Transformationalist Perspective (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2005);Google Scholar
  11. Joel S. Kahn, Modernity and Exclusion (London: Sage, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 8.
    Edward Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, Granta 13 (1984): 157–72 [here, p. 165].Google Scholar
  13. 9.
    For example, Robert H. Johnston, New Mecca, New Babylon: Paris and the Russian Exiles, 1920–1945 (Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    George Kennan, Siberia and the Exile System, 2 vols. (New York: Century Co., 1891).Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    See Philip D. Morgan, ‘Work and Culture: The Task System and the World of Lowcountry Blacks, 1700 to 1880’, in Colonial America: Essays in Politics and Social Development, 4th edn., ed. Stanley N. Katz et al. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), 486–523;Google Scholar
  16. Christine Hünefeldt, Paying the Price of Freedom: Family and Labor amongLima’s Slaves, 1800–1854 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994);Google Scholar
  17. Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Vintage, 1976);Google Scholar
  18. Judith R. Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class, and the State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Donna J. Guy, Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1991);Google Scholar
  20. Detlev J. K. Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in Everyday Life (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  21. 14.
    Immanuel Wallerstein, Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press, 1974); idem, The Modern World System II: Capitalist Agriculture, Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600–1750 (New York: Academic Press, 1980);Google Scholar
  22. Robert L. Reynolds, Europe Emerges: Transition toward an Industrial World-Wide Society, 600–1750 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967);Google Scholar
  23. Iain Wallace, The Global Economic System (Boston, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1990).Google Scholar
  24. 15.
    Michael Roberts, The Military Revolution 1560–1660: An Inaugural Lecture Delivered before the Queen’s University of Belfast (Belfast: M. Boyd, 1956);Google Scholar
  25. Martin L. Van Creveld, Technology and War: From 2000 B.C. to the Present (New York: Free Press, 1989);Google Scholar
  26. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997).Google Scholar
  27. 16.
    Cf. P. C. Emmer and M. Mörner, eds., European Expansion and Migration: Essays on the Intercontinental Migration from Africa, Asia, and Europe (New York: Berg, 1992);Google Scholar
  28. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from1500 to 2000 (New York: Vintage, 1987).Google Scholar
  29. 19.
    Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage, 1977), 29 et passim..Google Scholar
  30. 20.
    Marshall T. Poe, ‘A People Born to Slavery’: Russia in Early Modern Ethnography, 1476–1748 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 196–226.Google Scholar
  31. 21.
    This quotation comes from Paperno’s description of Kantorowicz’s ideas. Irina Paperno, Suicide as a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky’s Russia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 27;Google Scholar
  32. Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study of Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957). On developments in cartography, etc.,Google Scholar
  33. see Valerie A. Kivelson, ‘“The Souls of the Righteous in a Bright Place”: Landscape and Orthodoxy in Seventeenth-Century Russian Maps’, Russian Review 58, no. 1 (1999): 1–25 [esp. p. 4]; idem, ‘Cartography, Autocracy and State Powerlessness: The Uses of Maps in Early Modern Russia’, Imago Mundi 51 (1999): 83–105;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. J. B. Harley, ‘Maps, Knowledge, and Power’, in The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments, ed. Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 277–312;Google Scholar
  35. Richard S. Wortman, Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, Vol. 1 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 3–41.Google Scholar
  36. 23.
    See also Kathleen Canning, ‘The Body as Method? Reflections on the Place of the Body in Gender History’, Gender & History 11, no. 3 (1999): 499–513;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Emily Michael and Fred S. Michael, ‘Corporeal Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Psychology’, Journal of the History of Ideas 50, no. 1 (1989): 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 24.
    George L. Yaney, The Systematization of Russian Government: Social Evolution in the Domestic Administration of Imperial Russia, 1711–1905 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1973), 136.Google Scholar
  39. 25.
    In the Siberian context ‘cossack’ most often meant an irregular soldier rather than a member of a distinct ethnic group. I make a distinction in this book between ‘cossack’ and ‘Cossack’ by using the latter to refer to, e.g., Don Cossacks. See Lantzeff, Siberia, 67–9; I. R. Sokolovskii, Sluzhilye ‘inozemtsy’ v Sibiri XVII veka (Tomsk, Eniseisk, Krasnoiarsk) (Novosibirsk: ‘Soya,’ 2004), passim;Google Scholar
  40. N. E. Bekmakhanova, Kazach’i voiska Aziatskoi Rossii v XVIII-nachale XX veka (Astrakhanskoe, Orenburgskoe, Sibirskoe, Semirechenskoe, Ural’ skoe): Sbornik dokumentov (Moskva: Insitut possiskoi istorii RAN, 2000), 42 et passim..Google Scholar
  41. 26.
    John J. Stephan, The Russian Far East: A History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), 25.Google Scholar
  42. 27.
    For example, Galina Mihailovna Ivanova, Labor Camp Socialism: The Gulag in the Soviet Totalitarian System, trans. Carol Flath (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2000);Google Scholar
  43. Michael Jakobson, Origins of the GULAG: The Soviet Prison Camp System, 1917–1934 (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1993);Google Scholar
  44. Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History (New York: Doubleday, 2003).Google Scholar
  45. 36.
    For example, P. L. Kazarian, Olekminskaia politicheskaia ssylka, 1826–1917 gg. 2nd edn. (Iakutsk: GP NIPK ‘Sakhapoligrafizdat,’ 1996);Google Scholar
  46. G. V. Shebaldina, Shvedskie voennoplennye v Sibiri: Pervaia chetvert’ XVIII veka (Moskva: Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi gumanitarnyi universitet, 2005).Google Scholar
  47. 37.
    Basil Dmytryshyn et al., eds. and trans., Russia’s Conquest of Siberia, 1558–1700: A Documentary Record, vol. 1 (Portland, OH: OHS Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  48. 38.
    G. F. Miller [Müller], Istoriia Sibiri, 3 vols., ed. E. P. Bat’ianova et al. (Moskva: Vostochnaia literatura, 1999–2005).Google Scholar
  49. 41.
    A. P. Okladnikov et al., eds., Istoriia Sibiri s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, 5 vols. (Leningrad: Nauka, 1968–9).Google Scholar
  50. 43.
    R. R. Sullivan, ‘The Birth of the Prison: Discipline or Punish?’ Journal of Criminal Justice 24, no. 5 (1996): 449–58;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. K. von Schriltz, ‘Foucault on the Prison: Torturing History to Punish Capitalism’, Critical Review 13, nos. 3–4 (1999): 391–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 44.
    For example, C. F. Alford, ‘What Would it Matter if Everything Foucault Said about Prison were Wrong?: Discipline and Punish after Twenty Years’, Theory and Society 29 (2000): 125–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 45.
    Hayden V. White, ‘Foucault Decoded: Notes from Underground’, History and Theory 12 (1973): 23–54;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Louis A. Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought (New York: Basic Books, 1992), 251–4 et passim..Google Scholar
  55. 46.
    Jan Plamper, ‘Foucault’s Gulag’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 3 no. 2 (2002): 255–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 47.
    N. D. Sergeevskii, Rech’ v godovom SPB luridicheskago Obshchestva, 8 Marta 1887 goda, O ssylke v drevnei Rossii (S.-Peterburg: Tipografiia Ministerstva putei soobshcheniia [A. Benke], 1887), 15.Google Scholar
  57. 48.
    George G. Weickhardt, ‘Pre-Petrine Law and Western Law: The Influence of Roman and Canon Law’, Harvard Ukrainian Studies 19 (1995): 756–83.Google Scholar
  58. 49.
    Peter H. Solomon Jr., ‘Courts and Their Reform in Russian History’, in Reforming Justice in Russia, 1864–1996: Power, Culture, and the Limits of Legal Order, ed. idem (Armonk. NY: M. E. Shame. 1997). 6.Google Scholar
  59. 51.
    George V. Lantzeff and Richard A. Pierce, Eastward to Empire: Exploration and Conquest on the Russian Open Frontier, to1750 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1973), 113.Google Scholar
  60. 52.
    Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981), 155.Google Scholar
  61. 53.
    Cf. John P. LeDonne, Ruling Russia: Politics and Administration in the Age of Absolutism, 1762–1796 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 187, 189–92;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Evgeny V. Anisimov, Empress Elizabeth: Her Reign and Her Russia, 1741–1761, ed. and trans. John T. Alexander (Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1995), 49ff.;Google Scholar
  63. A. B. Kamenskii, Ot Petra I do Pavia I: Reformy v Rossii XVIII veka (Moskva: Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi gumanutarnyi universitet, 1999), ch. 4; idem, The Russian Empire in the Eighteenth Century: Searching for a Place in the World (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997), 177–88;Google Scholar
  64. W. Bruce Lincoln, The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias (New York: Doubleday, 1981), 280–3;Google Scholar
  65. Cyril Bryner, ‘The Issue of Capital Punishment in the Reign of Elizabeth Petrovna’, Russian Review 49, no. 4 (1990): 389–416. Bryner credits Elizabeth Petrovna’s decision to abolish capital punishment to three main factors: 1) her religiosity; 2) her father’s reformist legacy; and 3) her fondness for French novels. This last factor, I would argue, represented just one way in which the Enlightenment came to influence the empress.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 54.
    Marc Raeff, Siberia and the Reforms of1822 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1956), 16.Google Scholar
  67. 55.
    David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1971).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Andrew A. Gentes 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew A. Gentes

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations