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Scientific HistoryExperiments in History and Politics from the Bolshevik Revolution to the End of the Cold War$
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Elena Aronova

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226761381

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226761411.001.0001

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Scientific History and the Russian Locale

Scientific History and the Russian Locale

(p.33) 2 Scientific History and the Russian Locale
Scientific History

Elena Aronova

University of Chicago Press

The chapter introduces Russia as a site of appropriation, adaptation, and circulation of knowledge associated with scientific history. Russian historians’ close ties to their Western European counterparts, combined with their preoccupation with comparative approaches within the broader context of debate about “Russia and the West,” placed them in an advantageous position as participants in the movement for scientific history through the venue of International Historical Congresses. After the Bolshevik revolution, the political entanglements of the leading champions of scientific history in Russia left them vulnerable to retaliation. When professional historians were removed from their posts as historical interpreters of contemporary events, politicians took their place. One such Marxist politician, Nikolai Bukharin, not only offered historical interpretations but also entered academics’ debates on history, its method, its theory, and its relation to science. For Bukharin, the Second International Congress of the History of Science and Technology, held in London in 1931, presented an opportunity not only to showcase a Marxist synthesis but also to confront the dean of “historical synthesis,” Henri Berr.

Keywords:   Russia and the West, International Historical Congresses, history and Marxism, Mikhail Pokrovskii, Nikolai Bukharin, Second International Congress of the History of Science and Technology

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