‘We’ve Suggested Some New Hypotheses on Medieval History’
Writing world histories has become a global trend in recent years. There is a huge demand among readers around the world for books of this kind, and not just in Russia where the previous edition of ‘World History’, published over 10 years - 1956 to 1965 initially in 10 volumes, is still popular.
The new edition of ‘World History’ is a Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) project, and it is planned to run to six volumes, under the general editorship of Alexander Chubarian, Director of the RAS Institute of World History and Member of the RAS. So far, two volumes have been published: the first of them, dedicated to Ancient History, was launched in February this year, and the second, entitled ‘Medieval Civilizations of the East and West’, was presented to the academic community just recently.
This is the first academic publication of ‘World History’ published by the Russian Academy of Sciences since a similarly named Soviet edition. These editions, however, are totally different. Unlike the Soviet publication, which grew out of the general concept of consequential change in socio-historical formations, the new one has no general scenario. The lack of scenario reflects the state of modern academic approaches to history. Today there is no single concept shared by the professional community. That’s why we can’t speak about a general view on history among the authors of ‘World History’.
|World History. Vol. 2. Medieval Civilizations of the East and West|
Speaking about the image of the medieval period, talk of the ‘Dark Ages’ or stagnating feudalism holds no water among professional historians these days. On the contrary, with the establishment of feudal liege economies at the end of the 10th century, the West experienced a boom in demographic, economic and cultural growth, which lasted until the beginning of the 14th century. In my view, all further successes of Western civilization took place not despite, but because of the feudal legacy, which developed, became stronger, overcame its problems and transformed itself. Without it modernization would never have happened.
We don’t lay claim to any major new discoveries but in our book we have suggested some new hypotheses. Particularly, Alexey Ryabinin expressed an interesting thought about the decisive role of neighboring nomads in the creation of Eastern states. It is true that the Middle Ages’ ‘trademark’, besides world religions, is the nomads, who were ‘cruising’ between the Amur River basin and Hungary over several centuries. They were a constantly active factor forcing the neighboring peoples, particularly those living on the Great Steppe, to create certain socio-political structures inside their country – a strong centralized power structure, a standing army, and a vast and expensive bureaucracy.
Against this background, Western Europe was the only place not exposed to the threat from the nomadic hordes roaming the Steppe. Throughout the Middle Ages it developed unhampered by the necessity to create superstates, though since Charlemagne there have been many attempts to unite it and create a universal state. No one has done it yet.
How the Telephone Conquered the World. Episode Five: From the US Free Market to Conservative Britain
In this series of columns on IQ.HSE, Anton Basov, HSE Faculty of Computer Science editor, discusses how telephones have become an integral part of our everyday life. The fifth episode of the series chronicles the early experiences of the telegraph and telephone in Great Britain, shedding light on the challenges they faced, and explores the adverse impact of excessive government regulation and nationalisation on the evolution of telecommunications.
Petroleum for equine care, wood oil for lighting, sandalwood for Easter celebrations, and lemons and olives for entertaining unexpected guests. Russian monasteries often used these and other eastern goods in the period leading up to and during the reign of Peter the Great. Analysing their account books leads to a revision of the traditional assumptions about the primary consumers of oriental goods in Russia. These consumers, in addition to the royal and aristocratic circles, included monastery estates, as discussed in the paper ‘“Three altyns worth of petroleum…”: Oriental goods in Russia at the second half of the 17th and early 18th century’ by historian Arthur Mustafin of HSE University. Based on his paper, IQ.HSE explores the types of goods that were shipped from the East to Russia in the latter half of the 17th to the early 18th century, including the routes and purposes of these shipments.
How the Telephone Conquered the World. Episode Four: David the Start-up Versus the Corporate Goliath
The history of the invention of telephony reads like a captivating detective novel, but even more intriguing are the events that contributed to the worldwide adoption of this technology. In this series of columns on IQ.HSE, Anton Basov, HSE Faculty of Computer Science editor, discusses how telephones have become an integral part of our everyday life. The fourth episode of the series recounts the story of the fledgling start-up's confrontation with hordes of patent trolls and its subsequent victory in a full-blown corporate war against the largest telecommunications company of the late 19th century.
‘In Search of the Key to the Past’: Students of HSE Art and Design School in Nizhny Novgorod Develop Collection of Souvenirs
The HSE Art and Design School in Nizhny Novgorod, together with the ‘Protected Quarters’ project to revive Nizhny Novgorod’s historical territories, have carried out the ‘Timeless’ creative project, which included a design laboratory and an educational programme. As a result of the creative workshop, students made concepts for souvenir products based on the local identity.
Today, we can make a telephone call to anyone, anywhere in the world—but this was not always the case. In this series of columns on IQ.HSE, Anton Basov, HSE Faculty of Computer Science editor, discusses how telephones have become an integral part of our everyday life. The third episode focuses on the evolution of telephone connections, the first subscribers, and the history of the telephone directory.
On May 21, HSE School of Asian Studies organised their traditional Oriental Crazy Day for 2023. Prospective students learnt more about HSE degree programmes and admission process, and met with students and university teachers at the ‘Meeting under the Stars’ held at the HSE Cultural Centre.
Russia's pivot to the East requires balanced actions, as well as knowledge of the languages, cultures, and traditions of Asian countries. Without this, Russian businesses will not be able to work there effectively. Experts and government representatives discussed the issue and the experience of Russia's regions working in Asia at ‘The Pivot to the East: The Regional Dimension’, the first interregional conference held by HSE University with the support of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.
‘We Have Always Loved You, Sakhalin’: Research Expedition Studies Sociocultural Anthropology of Miners' Working Life in the USSR
Researchers from the School of Foreign Languages and the Group for Historical Research, together with students of the History programme at the HSE University campus in Perm, have come back from an expedition to Sakhalin Island, where they studied Soviet industrial culture and the working life of miners. The expedition participants shared their impressions of their ‘immersion into the past’ and the extraordinary landscapes of the island with the HSE News Service.
Throughout July, students of the HSE International Summer University are studying Russian History and Behavioural Economics. The courses are taking place in an online format—something that seemed unthinkable for a summer programme before the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent years have shown that online learning is a unique opportunity for students from all over the world to study with leading HSE University professors from the comfort of their own homes.
The HSE Chinese Student Club at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs School of Asian Studies has completed its 2021/22 season. Its participants and organisers talked to the HSE News Service about how they discuss China’s socio-economic, political, and cultural development as part of the club’s events.