Presenting the results of new research and fresh approaches, the historians whose work is highlighted here seek to extend new thinking about the way imperial Russian history is studied and taught. Populating their essays are a varied lot of ordinary Russians of the 18th and 19th centuries: a luxury-loving merchant and his extended family, reform-minded clerics, peasant resettlers, soldiers on the frontier, amateur ethnographers, lesser nobles of the provinces and the capitals, founders of the Russian Geographic Society. In contrast to much of traditional historical writing on Imperial Russia, which focused heavily on the causes of its demise, the contributors to this volume investigate the people and institutions that kept imperial Russia functioning over a long period of time. Eschewing grand historical narratives for mini-stories of politics, culture, institutions, or family life, the essays open new directions for scholars and students seeking a better understanding of Russia's fascinating past. This is an Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies.