Department of Source Studies of Russian and Soviet History

Created in 1953 at the initiative of academician M.N.Tikhomirov, the department of source studies opened a new stage in the study and teaching of special historical disciplines, on which the development of the professional culture of historians in many respects depends. Ever since I.D.Kovalchenko became department chair in 1966, research interests of the department’s collective have been concentrated on the problems of methodology, source studies and historiography. The efforts of the department’s teachers and employees have been directed to the study of the fundamental problems of the economic, social-political and welfare history of Russia, the result of which has been outstanding author's works, collective monographs, new textbooks and manuals. Nowadays department is a large pedagogical and center of academics, where the urgent problems of the methodology of history, theoretical and concrete problems of source studies and historiography are developed; the contents of courses are determined, respondent to the modern tasks of preparation of new staff. Significant achievements of last decades are connected with the study of mass historical sources, application of quantitative methods in historical research.

The following staff compose the department’s staff: Professors S.V.Voronkova, A.G.Golikov, V.A.Plugin, N.B.Selunskaya, associate professors G.R.Naumova (PhD Hist.), A.V.Vlasov, D.M.Volodikhin, T.A.Kruglova, distinguished teachers of Moscow University Y.A.Moshkov, A.E.Shiklo, senior teacher N.G.Abramova, main research assistant I.V.Pozdeeva, senior research assistant L.D.Dergacheva, V.P.Pushkov, junior research assistant O.S.Petrova. Doctor of the historical science, professor A.G.Golikov is department chair.

The department’s staff and that of the laboratory of the historical information science (a part of the department’s structure until 2001) read general courses in disciplines of specialization: “methodological problems of historical research”, “quantitative methods in historical research”, “computer science and mathematics”, “source studies of Russian history”, “Russian historiography of Russian history”, “archival studies in Russian history”, “historical geography of Russia”, “Russian paleography”. A course on archaeography has been developed and is being given.

New programs for courses, prepared by the department’s staff are published in the editions: “Historical Education. Programs For General Courses” (edited by S.P.Karpov, 1998); “Programs for Disciplines of Specialization in Russian History” (edited by A.G.Golikov, 2000).

Over the last few years, dozens of special courses have been given for students majoring in the department, among which are: “historical sources in literary documentation”, “information space of Russian society on the boundary of the 19th and 20th centuries” (S.V.Voronkova), “idols and leaders of 1917 as reflected in the contemporary press and memoirs of their times”, “non-conventional historical sources” (A.G.Golikov), “history of Russia in modern western Russian studies”, “a collective portrait of the Russian legislative elite at the beginning of the XX century (sources and methods of analysis)” (N.B.Selunskaya), “Russian man as owner and worker (sources and methods of analysis)”, “types of religious thought in Russia and the Russian socio-economic doctrine. Problems of historiography” (G.R.Naumova), “source studies of decorative sources, ancient Rus and Russia XVIII-XIX cc.”, “historical psychology of the Russian people (sources and methods of study)” (V.A.Plugin), “calendar and chronology of the Russian orthodox church” (I.V.Pozdeeva), “the history of auxiliary historical disciplines” (T.A.Kruglova), “agriculture and the peasantry in the USSR (1920-1930): sources, historiography, problems” (Y.A.Moshkov), “Russia, West, East in the historiography of the XVIII-XIX cc.” (A.E.Shiklo), “source studies problems of the study of foreign capital in industry of pre-revolutionary Russia” (N.G.Abramova), “Russian coins and epigraphical monuments as a historical source” (D.M.Volodikhin), “the wartime press: source studies aspects (on an example of Soviet journalism 1941-1945)” (L.D.Dergacheva), “Moscow Printing House — the largest center of Russian culture of first half of the 17th century (mass sources and methods of studying the sociology and geography of the diffusion of books)” (V.P.Pushkov).

The department’s students are engaged in proseminars on such themes as: “the industrial updating of Russia, problems of source studies” (S.V. Voronkova), “problems of source studies of the Russian periodical press” (A.G.Golikov), “methodological problems of studying the transitional epoch, a concept of agrarian history of the post-reform Russia: historiography, sources, methods of research” (N.B.Selunskaya), “the Russian factory of the XIX-XX cc. sources and methods of research” (G.R.Naumova), “source studies of decorative sources, ancient Rus and Russia XVIII-XIX cc.” (V.A.Plugin), “Old Belief book-learning and culture as sources of study of Russian national traditions and mentality” (I.V.Pozdeeva), “historical demography of the USSR, sources and methods of study” (A.V.Vlasov), “auxiliary historical disciplines: past, present, future” (T.A.Kruglova), “statistical sources on the history of agriculture and the peasantry in the 1920s and 1930s” (Y.A.Moshkov), “national traditions of Russian historical thought, a history of Russia in the works of historians XVII-XX cc.” (A.E.Shiklo), “foreign business in pre-revolutionary Russia (source studies aspects)” (N.G.Abramova), “numismatics and epigraphy” (D.M.Volodikhin).

The basic directions of the department’s academic work are: theoretical and concrete problems of source studies, historiography, archival studies, archaeography, paleography, historical geography; methodology of historical research, application of quantitative methods in historical research; source studies of decorative sources (XI-XVII cc.); source studies of book learning and book culture of Rus XV-XVIII cc.; source studies and methods of study of traditional material and spiritual culture of the Old Belief (XV-XX cc.); national traditions of Russian historical thought in the works of historians XVIII-XX cc.; source studies of the periodical press XIX-XX cc.; research of sources on the history of industry and business in Russia: end XIX — beg. XX cc.; quantitative methods of studying Russian agrarian history XVII-XX cc.; problems of modeling and the creation of databases on the history of Russian parliamentarism in the 20th century; the history of auxiliary historical disciplines.

In recent years, the department and the laboratory of the historical information science have prepared the following academic monographs and textbooks: “Source Studies of Russian History” (A.G.Golikov, T.A.Kruglova, 2000), “The Historical Information Science” (edited by L.I.Borodkin, I.M.Garskova, 1996), “Computer Science for Students of the Humanities. An Introduction Course” (edited by L.I.Borodkin, I.M.Garskova, 1997), “Russian Industry at the Beginning of the 20th Century: Sources and Methods of Study” (S.V.Voronkova, 1996), “Mass Sources on the History of Russian Industry at the End of the 19th — Beginning of the 20th Century” (S.V.Voronkova, 1995), “The Formation of Russian Parliamentarism at the Beginning of the 20th Century” (under the editorship of N.B.Selunskaya, 1996), “Russia on the Boundary of the XIX-XX cc. in the Works of Western Historians” (N.B.Selunskaya, 1993), “Bases and Databanks in Historical Research” (I.M.Garskova, 1994), “Russian Monopolies in the Mirror of the Press” (A.G.Golikov, 1991), “The Russian Factory” (G.R.Naumova, 1998), “Alekhan or the Man With a Scar (a Biography of the Duke Aleksei Orlov-Chesmenskii)” (V.A.Plugin, 1996), “Russia in the System of the European Market” (T.F.Izmesteva, 1991), “The Arrogant Wanderer. The Philosophy and Life of K.Leontiev” (D.M.Volodikhin, 2000) etc.

The department has a tradition of holding recitations in memory of professors of the department. Two international conferences were organized in memory of academician I.D.Kovalchenko, who chaired the department of source studies for more than 30 years, (“Materials from academic readings in memory of academician I.D.Kovalchenko” (1997); (“Materials II from academic readings in memory of academician I.D.Kovalchenko” (2000); The All-Russian academic conference in memory of professor V.I.Bovykin (“Russia on a boundary of centuries. Materials from academic readings in memory of professor V.I.Bovykin” (1999); additionally, academic conferences in memory of professor A.V.Murav’ev were held.

The department regularly holds two academic seminars “Industrialization in Russia” (chaired by S.V.Voronkova) and “Traditions of Russian Historical Thought” (chaired by G.R.Naumova and A.E.Shiklo), the materials of which are published in the special editions: newsletter “Industrialization in Russia” (No. 1-10, 1998-2000) and “Traditions of Russian Historical Thought” (issue 1, 1997; issue 2, 1999).

The faculty maintains regular contacts with RAS and its establishments, with state archives of the Russian Federation and the Federal archival service of Russia, with numerous universities of Russia and other countries of the CIS, organizes joint academic conferences, brings about academic projects, many of which are maintained by grants from Russian and international funds.

The faculty maintains extensive international contacts. Its employees are the organizers and participants of the Soviet-American Colloquium on the application of quantitative methods in historical research, international congresses on economic history, international congresses of Slavic historians, international conferences on the history of the historical science, archival studies and source studies of Russian history, and of the conference “history and computing,” etc.

The faculty participates in international academic projects of MSU’s Faculty of History with the University of Lodzin (Poland), with Leides University (Netherlands), Lester University (Great Britain), with the State University of New York (SUNY) (USA), and with the House of Sciences About Mankind (Paris, France) etc.

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The department maintains a laboratory of archaeography (headed by Dr. I.V.Pozdeeva).

The laboratory’s employees conduct research, pedagogical, expedition and museum work on the history of Cyrillic books, traditional national culture (oral folklore, musical culture, commune life, etc.) on the facilities of the Russian Old Belief, and also on source studies. The laboratory develops and applies new computer methods of research and description.

Since 1971, complex expeditions and student practice in Old Belief regions have been conducted annually; in addition to historians and archaeographists, linguists, folklorists, musicologists, sociologists and other experts participate in the expeditions. More than 4 thousand Cyrillic books (XV-XX cc.), thousands of meters of recordings, 200 hours of TV-recordings; and a photo fund in which there are more than 2,5 thousand units have been created; an archive of field documentation was formed; the laboratory houses a unique archive reflecting traditional culture of the Upper Kama Region.

On the materials from the expeditions, more than 250 works, including six academic descriptions and catalogues of books from the XV-XVII cc. have been published. A bibliography of this research is published in the 1st and 5th volumes of the journal “The World of the Old Belief.” The laboratory issues the collection of works (The World of the Old Belief. Issues 1-5, 1992-1999).

Published in 2000, the book “An Invaluable Spiritual Heritage. Cyrillic Manuscripts of the XV-XVII cc. and Printed Books of the XVI-XVII cc. Libraries of the Moscow Spiritual Academy and Seminary. The Preliminary List” contains a brief description of 640 hand-written and early printed ancient Russian books in Church Slavonic language.

The laboratory is the leading organization in working with literary monuments from libraries of institutions of higher education of the Russian Federation; in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation the laboratory organizes and carries out schools for the employees of libraries, museums and archives working with rare books.

The staff, prepared by the laboratory, work in institutions of higher education, institutes of RAS, the State History Museum, Museums of the Moscow Kremlin, in other museums, in libraries and in publishing houses of the Russian Federation.