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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 5: Historical Writing Since 1945$
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Axel Schneider and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199225996.001.0001

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Athens and Apocalypse: Writing History in Soviet Russia

Athens and Apocalypse: Writing History in Soviet Russia

(p.375) Chapter 18 Athens and Apocalypse: Writing History in Soviet Russia
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Denis Kozlov

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the early emergence of official Marxist historiography in the USSR under the leadership of M. N. Pokrovskii, and its 1930s’ Stalinization. The late 1930s had a formative impact on the Soviet historical profession. It was then that the official academic culture of research and teaching took shape, definitive scholarly works and textbooks were published, and important subterranean intellectual currents emerged. These years also ineradicably affected historians’ lives, thoughts, and memories. They marked the peak of mass arrests and executions, when history professors and students disappeared overnight without trace. Moreover, in the late 1930s, the Soviet historical profession was going through a conservative shift, under Joseph Stalin’s close supervision. Instead of theorizing, students were to study history in chronological sequence, learning names, dates, and events. The chapter then examines the further development of history-writing in the post-war era, before the Soviet experiment came to an abrupt end in the early 1990s.

Keywords:   Marxist historiography, Stalinization, Soviet historical profession, Soviet history-writing, Soviet experiment

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