Ambiguitäten einer Verbannung. Tomasz Zan zwischen ‚imperial subject‘ und ‚imperial agent‘
Pages 295 - 325
Tomasz Zan, a co-founder of secret student organisations at the University of Wilno, came into Polish cultural history as one of the early victims of the tsarist regime in the first decades of the 19th century. As a result of the investigation launched by the Russian authorities, Zan and some of his friends were arrested and exiled to inner Russia. Zan was sent to the South Ural region where he spent the first months in a prison. Later, he was active as a private teacher and official.
As a political prisoner, even outside the fortress walls, and, an academic between mostly uneducated soldiers and the autochthons, Zan was in a socially and politically diffi cult situation. He was an imperial subject and at the same time he was, in a way, an imperial agent. Not only did he travel a lot on behalf of the governors of Orenburg in order to explore mineral resources, but he also prepared maps and drilled artesian wells. In this way he helped to develop the Orenburg region. Moreover, despite the feelings of cultural superiority towards the Middle Asian tribes, Zan was fascinated with “Asian otherness”. This ambivalence reflects his complex attitude towards imperial Russia and its Orient.