Russian-Polish School of Young Historians
An international school of young historians, ‘Russian – Polish Entangled History: Scientific Reconstruction and Reflection in the Collective Memory’, took place in April at the School of History (HSE Moscow). Undergraduate and master’s students from HSE and the University of Warsaw took place in the event. Alexander Kamenskii, Andrey Iserov, Dariusz Klechowski, Director of the Polish Cultural Centre in Moscow, and Leonid Gorizontov, who lead the organization of the Russian-Polish meeting.
Eighteen student research projects, mostly related to the 19th and 20th centuries, were presented during three working days. Two roundtable discussions were held, where participants exchanged their views on the study of the Russian-Polish joint history and historical education in the two countries. As part of the School of Young Historians, the book ‘Russian and Poland: Overcoming Historical Stereotypes. Late 18th – early 20th centuries’, edited by Leonid Gorizontov, was first presented. All activities at the School were held in English.
A cultural programme was organized for the 13 guests from Warsaw, which introduced them to Moscow’s museums and landmarks. HSE students conducted historical and cultural excursions. A reception at the Polish Cultural Centre was organized for the School participants. Students of the two universities had a lot of time for informal communication. And they are very keen that the meeting at the Moscow HSE campus would be the beginning of long-term cooperation with the University of Warsaw.
Some feedback from the students who participated in the International School of Young Historians:
Marta Tomczak, 1st year master’s student at the University of Warsaw
It was a great honor for us to take part in this Polish-Russian conference. We had the unique chance to talk with Russian students about the entangled history of our nations in a way that undoubtedly broadened our way of thinking about our mutual relations in the past. It would be a great pleasure for us to continue this project and meet with our friends from HSE in Warsaw.
Izabella Korchagina, Vladislav Yakovenko, 3rd-year undergraduate students at HSE
The Interuniversity School of Young Historians left us with some remarkable impressions. It was interesting to discuss our countries’ joint history during the presentations of papers and roundtable discussions. We had the opportunity to get to know something about contemporary Polish historical science and to exchange opinions with the students of the University of Warsaw. It was a nice surprise that many of them know Russian culture and language well, so we had almost no problems with communication. Despite the fact that the School’s working language was English, we talked in Russian with many of the Polish guests informally. In addition to that, we could act as guides when we showed them around Moscow. This was thrilling, since many of them came to Moscow for the first time and were interested in seeing its landmarks. The best thing is that we found new friends and we hope to continue our communication.
Aleksandra Jakubczak, 1st-year master’s student at the University of Warsaw
I believe that meetings like this, connecting young generation of historians from two different countries, which have such an intertwined history, are very important. It was very enlightening to see how Russian students of history study our common past and what interests them. The time spent together on several trips around the city contributed to a better understanding of each other. Actual contact between Russian and Polish young generations helped to break down many of the stereotypes that both of our groups had before the meeting.
Magda Pruchniak, 1st-year master’s student at the University of Warsaw
On 5th-9th April 2016 we had the great pleasure of participating in the International School of Young Historians. Discussions were fruitful, but for me building a real student community was even more important. The cultural program let us not only see Moscow from different points of view (one of the most exciting surprises was a visit in the Institute of Polish Culture!), but also we spent a lot of time together, singing Polish and Russian songs and talking about everything. We are really grateful for that opportunity and impatiently looking forward for our discussions in Warsaw and developing new friendships!
Margarita-Agnessa Dmitrieva, 1st-year undergraduate student at HSE
This was not the first experience of participating in an international conference for me, but this School’s format was new for me. Interesting research by Polish and Russian colleagues, a friendly atmosphere and a thrilling programme brought only the most positive emotions. I was happy to meet people interested in the complicated topic of the School, and particularly, in my paper. Great thanks to all participants and organizers for the opportunity to learn more about the development of Russian-Polish relations, to meet international colleagues, and to outline a new direction for my research!
Samrat Sil is a recent graduate of the English-taught Master's programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History ‘Usable Pasts’ at HSE St. Petersburg. David Datmar, a native of Ghana, decided to join the programme to help him prepare for eventual study at the PhD level, which he plans to undertake soon at the University of Oxford. Both gentlemen were recently awarded certificates of recognition for their role as ambassadors contributing to the university’s internationalization agenda.
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On March 11, Seth Bernstein gave a presentation — ‘Burying the Alliance: Interment, Repatriation and the Politics of the Sacred in Occupied Germany’ — at the scholarly seminar of the HSE International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences where he works as a postdoctoral research fellow.
On 22 January, 2016 Judd Kinzley, Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA gave a presentation, ‘Wartime Atrocities and the Historical Legacies of World War II in China’at the academic seminar of the HSE International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences.
In December 2015, leading international academic Ronald Suny chaired a seminar at HSE St Petersburg on Imperial Transformations – Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet History, which was part of the international research project Comparative Historical Studies of Empire and Nationalism.