Catherine the Great and the art of epistolary networking
Kelsey Rubin-Detlev and Andrew Kahn
Catherine the Great of Russia (reigned from 1762 to 1796) made epistolary networking central to her strategies for asserting herself and her nation as a great power in Europe. The vocabulary of social network analysis helps to untangle the web of different networks into which Catherine’s ego-network led and to understand how Catherine acquired a position of prestige within them. A case study of a single episode – Catherine’s matchmaking for her son Paul – illustrates this process, but it also shows how far digital tools still are from providing sufficient resources for a complete picture of the dynamics of eighteenth-century epistolary networking.
Part 1: Correspondence Networks