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“Let’s Leave a Space for Mystery”: Parascience and Popularization of Science in the USSR in the 1960-1970s

Student: Anna Smirnova

Supervisor: Jeanne Kormina

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: History (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

My thesis focuses on parascientific notions of late-Soviet science and popular-scientific magazines. Paradoxically, in the 1960s and later, the Soviet materialist scientific-based discourse allowed flourishing parascientific studies focusing on non-verifiable researches in telepathy, parapsychology and paranormal events develop in Academy and media. The main goal of my thesis is to point out reasons of parascientific publications’ emergence in popular-scientific magazines in a wider context of Soviet Academy of Science and scientific propaganda. By using analysis of discourse, I intend to analyze an overall scientific environment and scientific propaganda to understand the circumstances of parascience’s development. Through the research I also aim to understand and elaborate approaches for working with the topic of parascince, parascientific text and emic terms. This research will examine historiographical situation in the dimensions of sociology of science, history of Soviet science and history of popular science genre together with primary sources of society “Znanie”, popular-scientific magazines and corpus of parascientific researches in Academia. Thesis aims to highlight reasons of overall parascience existence in the environment of scientization and scientific revolution, especially putting the emphasis on the emergence of parascience in media under the scientific and ideological censorship.

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