This book-length study aims to pave the way for a transnational history of the Black Sea Region, from the Russian expansion in the area (1774) to the collapse of the Russian and Ottoman empires (1920). It considers the Black Sea Region as a privileged trading space on the frontier of Europe and, broadly, as a space for cultural interchange.
This study contributes to a renewal of history writting called "new thalassology". It also raises the difficult issue of how to define "Europe" and how it blends into Asia.
The approach is innovative for a region where national histories are divisive and used as a geopolitical weapon. With the Ukrainian crisis that started in 2014, the need for a history capable of reconciling peoples, instead of dividing them, has become even more urgent.
A highlight on Odessa, as a multicultural place in Europe was presented in an international symposium European Places in March 2008 and published in the book Lieu d'Europe in 2008. Before that, the cultural athmosphere of Saint-Petersburg and Odessa during the first half of the XIXth century had been covered in the PhD thesis (see chapter V and VIII of the book Réinventer la tradition. Alexandre Stourdza et l´Europe de la Sainte-Alliance.