Historians and Historical Societies in the Public Life of Imperial Russia

Historians and Historical Societies in the Public Life of Imperial Russia

Vera Kaplan
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/27/2017
ISBN: 978-0-253-02406-0
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What was the role of historians and historical societies in the public life of imperial Russia? Focusing on the Society of Zealots of Russian Historical Education (1895–1918), Vera Kaplan analyzes the network of voluntary associations that existed in imperial Russia, showing how they interacted with state, public, and private bodies. Unlike most Russian voluntary associations of the late imperial period, the Zealots were conservative in their view of the world. Yet, like other history associations, the group conceived their educational mission broadly, engaging academic and amateur historians, supporting free public libraries, and widely disseminating the historical narrative embraced by the Society through periodicals. The Zealots were champions of voluntary association and admitted members without regard to social status, occupation, or gender. Kaplan’s study affirms the existence of a more substantial civil society in late imperial Russia and one that could endorse a modernist program without an oppositional liberal agenda.

Author Bio

Vera Kaplan is Senior Lecturer at the Department of History and Director of the Cummings Center for Russian and East European Studies, Tel Aviv University. Her research interests lie in the areas of cultural and social history and history of education in Russia, focusing especially on the history of voluntary associations which, she argues, constituted the "building blocks" of modern Russian society.

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations
1. From Associations of the Educated to Societies for Education: Historical Background
2. Historical Societies at the Juncture of Scholarship, Politics, and Education
3. From the University Societies to the "University Extension:" Historians as Public Activists
4. The Society of Zealots of Russian Historical Education: Conservative Activism and the Quest for Useful History
Conclusion: Voluntary Historical Societies in the Fin-de-Siècle Associational World