‘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.
Students of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs celebrated the Lunar New Year. The festivities, which were held at HSE’s Cultural Centre on Pokrovsky Boulevard, included a concert with traditional dance and Korean folklore skits.
In honour of the event, the university’s Palmyra Club held an evening of Arabic poetry. The future orientalists read works by their favourite authors, as well as their own translations of the poems. School of Asian Studies graduates, who had won grants to study at a university in Qatar, also shared their recommendations as to who should study Arabic.
Researchers and diplomats from 35 countries and eight Russian regional universities gathered at HSE University to discuss globalization in Asia and how it differs from what is taking place in Europe.
‘Bashkir Kids Know How to Use a Bow and Arrow, Imams Keep Ancient Books, and Everybody Preserves the Cultural Traditions’
For 12 days, students and teachers of the HSE School of Asian Studies travelled across the Republic of Bashkortostan. The trip was organized as part of the Rediscover Russia project. HSE News Service spoke with participants of the trip about their immersion in Russian Islamic culture.
HSE Lyceum senior Dmity Shcheglov was the first Lyceum student to participate in the international Chinese studies competition, which was held in Zhengzhou from October 17 to November 3. He placed among the top ten finalists from Europe.
Nikolai Pavlenko, a shadow entrepreneur and creator of a successful business in Stalin’s USSR, was executed by firing squad in 1955. Running a successful commercial enterprise right under the dictator’s nose in a strictly planned economy was a striking but not so uncommon case in the Soviet Union at the time, according to HSE professor Oleg Khlevniuk who made a number of unexpected findings having studied newly accessible archival documents. Below, IQ.HSE offers a summary of what his study reveals.
Mental health disorders are among the leading worldwide causes of disease and long-term disability. This issue has a long and painful history of gradual de-stigmatization of patients, coinciding with humanization of therapeutic approaches. What are the current trends in Russia regarding this issue and in what ways is it similar to and different from Western countries? IQ.HSE provides an overview of this problem based on research carried out by Svetlana Kolpakova.
Medieval horror, vampires, sorcerers, mysterious monks and the rising dead, alongside real historical figures and stories about the Russian Civil War wrapped in the aura of mysticism – this is perhaps the shortest formula for Daurian Gothic. Alexei Mikhalev, Doctor of Political Science, discusses this phenomenon and its evolution.
The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences at HSE University held a Graduate Student Seminar in Soviet History together with Sciences Po (France) on June 17 – 18, 2019. HSE News Service spoke with participants and instructors of the seminar, which examinedthe impact of WWII on the Soviet Union and surrounding regions, as well as aspects of the Soviet system from Stalin up to the 1980s.
On June 24-25, HSE University held the international academic conference, ‘The 1990s: A Social History of Russia’ organized by International Center for the History and Sociology of World World War II and its Consequences, the Boris Yeltsin Center, the Egor Gaider Foundation, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. HSE News Service spoke with Roberto Rabbia, one of the international participants, about how he became interested in Soviet history, why he reads Soviet newspapers, and what he has learned from his research.