Mapping Petersburg
April 6, 2011 2:00 AM   Subscribe

Mapping Petersburg "..explores the everyday life and the material, political, and literary culture of St. Petersburg [..] at the beginning of the twentieth century. It maps eleven itineraries through the city with the purpose of creating a palpable sense of life in Russia's late imperial capital on the eve of the 1917 revolution and during the subsequent decade." [About] [via]

"Instead of taking the city's better known landmarks and history, Mapping Petersburg focuses on the relationship between modernity and modernism as it navigates the city's urban life, architectural sites, adopting perspectives that have not been considered before. It offers a unique narrative of the Russian metropolis, bringing together familiar and unfamiliar historical visual and literary material in a new way and creating a guide to the city for scholars, students, tourists, and web users who enjoy virtual travel through the past and to unfamiliar places."
posted by peacay (8 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This is really interesting. Unfortunately, the web design is very 1999, which is a common problem for nifty academic web projects.
posted by nasreddin at 7:24 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

In particular, if they were more explicit about the "mapping" aspect--perhaps embedding a Google Maps overlay or something--the project would make a lot more sense.
posted by nasreddin at 7:26 AM on April 6, 2011

Oooook. Well, as long as (nearly) noone is moved to share here, let me add a bonus link that is about Russia but that's the only tenuous connection to the "mapping" project really. - a wonderful flash site on historical Russian religious art. Just coz it popped up on my radar.

ps. Nasreddin, you would be perhaps the last person on Mefi that I would have believed would raise an objection to the metaphorical use of the term mapping (although I *did* see at least one actual "map" in there).
posted by peacay at 9:06 AM on April 6, 2011

Wow, what a great site (and a great Via; I've bookmarked both). And the site has a companion book, Petersburg/Petersburg: Novel and City 1900 – 1921, which I've just added to my Amazon wishlist. If you want actual maps, there's one at The Funeral of Alexander Blok, and anyone interested in Russian culture of the period should explore that section thoroughly—it's almost impossible to conceive in modern America how huge a deal the death of Blok, universally acknowledged as the greatest poet of the day, was (imagine a literary version of the death of JFK, though Blok wasn't assassinated), but this will give you some idea. I look forward to exploring the whole site. Thanks, peacay, and don't worry about the few comments; it's caviar to the general. (I have absolutely no problem with the layout of the site, and can only conclude that nasreddin is grumpy today.)
posted by languagehat at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2011

I'm not grumpy; I really do like the project, but I think it would make better use of its platform if it wasn't confined to linear text and pictures. Using mapping as a metaphor shouldn't prevent you from exploring all its facets.
posted by nasreddin at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2011

Just curious (and I'm sure peacay won't mind our carrying on a side conversation here, upping the comment count on his poor neglected post): what would you like to see on such a site aside from "linear text and pictures"? As a relic of the pre-internet age, I like linearity myself, but I'm willing to learn.
posted by languagehat at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2011

Ah, missed this--well, I'd start with putting in an actual map and make it possible to trace the different routes at the same time, see how they intersect, and so on. It would also be cool to find more contemporary photos, say, or newspaper articles or even popular songs that deal with the places mentioned. A lot of this material is obtainable.
posted by nasreddin at 10:05 AM on April 9, 2011

Yes, that does sound excellent. I hope they consider expanding in those directions.
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on April 9, 2011

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