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!
On October 11, Professor Dominic Lieven of the University of Cambridge, where he serves as Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, gave a public lecture at HSE St Petersburg entitled ‘Reflections on empire, Russia and historical comparison’. The event was organized by the Center for Historical Research.
A hundred years has passed since the October Revolution of 1917, but this event still hasn’t reached its logical conclusion. Its consequences are still crucial in defining the political system in Russia today and fostering divisions in society, believes Andrey Medushevsky, Professor at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, political scientist, historian and author of the book A Political History of the Russian Revolution: Norms, Institutions and Forms of Social Mobilization in the 20th Century.
Department of History at HSE St. Petersburg is focusing on a global, comparative and transnational approach to historical studies, and cooperates with several European and American research centers. One of its primary partners is German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which sponsors a position of an Associate Professor for a German scholar, and Dietmar Wulff, the current resident, told The HSE Look about his three years at the department and plans for the future.
On October 10, Stephen Wheatcroft, Professor of the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne delivered a lecture on ‘The importance of the grain problem in the Russian Revolution and for the next 40 years of Soviet Economics' at HSE Moscow as part of a long and busy schedule. A participant at previous April Conferences at HSE, Professor Wheatcroft is one of the world’s foremost experts on Soviet social, economic and demographic history, as well as famine and food supply problems in modern world history.
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.
International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, Higher School of Economics and The Friedrich Ebert Foundation held 'A Memory Revolution’: Soviet History Through the Lens of Personal Documents' in Moscow on 7-8 June, 2017. The conference brought together distinguished historians and sociologists from across the globe. Michael David-Fox, Professor of History, Georgetown University, and Academic Advisor of HSE International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences shares his reflections and considerations on the main topic and discussions at the conference and his own research
On May 31, Valerie Kivelson, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, will be delivering a seminar entitled ‘Visualizing Empire: Muscovite Images of Race’. Professor Kivelson is an expert in Medieval and early modern Russia, history of cartography, history of witchcraft, religion, and political culture, among other topics. She is the author of 'Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth Century Russia' and a guest editor of 'Witchcraft Casebook: Magic in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. 15-21st Centuries'.
A group of 20 undergraduates from the United States visited St. Petersburg, 'the northern Venice', this January, taking part in a programme that blended the history, society and culture of the Russian Empire’s capital. Participants arrived from Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, opting to spend two weeks of their winter holidays here (6 – 22 January) learning about this city. Participants were diverse in their fields of studies, Russian knowledge, and travel experience, some even choosing this trip as their first chance to travel outside the borders of the United States.
On Monday, October 3, two professors of anthropology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Heather Paxson and Stefan Helmreich – delivered a seminar for students of HSE St. Petersburg Master's programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History. A presentation by Professor Paxson focused on how the microbiopolitics of cheese making in the U.S. presupposed and promoted industrial methods and standards and how in recent decades interest in producing and consuming artisanally made, raw-milk cheese has risen dramatically.
Yanina Karpenkina won the 2016 annual contest for HSE students, which is organized by the International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences. Thanks to the contest, she went on a six-week internship as a research assistant with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.