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The open lecture of Alexander Kamenskii

The open lecture of Alexander Kamenskii

Alexander Kamenskii
is a doctor of historical sciences, professor,
a member of the Academic Council of the Higher School of Economics,
a specialist in the history of the 18th century.
The author of many books including
"Russia in the XVIII Century: Society and Memory".

Fields of interests:
— The history of the end of the XVII-first half of the XIX century;
— The history of 18th-century everyday life;
— The history of the city of the XVIII century;
— Source study;
— Methods of historical knowledge;
— Teaching history.

 

On the 6th of September Alexander Kamensky gave a lecture on the XVIII century, the central topic of which was the social history and self-identification of people of that time. The lecturer provided historiographical background, as well as general historical context, starting from the creation of the society of Anton Glen up to the Soviet historiography. Prof. Kamensky noted the special interest of the researchers to history of Russia in the 18th century, therefore, when the conference format was created, about 150 applications were received for participation. The lecturer revealed many problems that a researcher may encounter while studying the 18th century: a large number of sources and publications, accents and biases of Soviet historiography, absence of a general monograph study. According to the lecturer, the radical change occurred during perestroika in the USSR. In the 80's and 90's in the historiography, the country's imperial past was rehabilitated and monographs of such authors as Evgeni Anisimov and Nikolai Pavlenko appeared and unshakable concepts were destroyed.

During the lecture Alexander Kamensky identified the main problem in working with the sources of the XVIII century: many researchers believe that the society of that time was understandable and close to the modern, while it is actually difficult to understand the logic of that society. The author noted that in the sources there were lacking clear boundaries between estates and as a result of this incomprehensible "self-names" of people appeared and it is unclear how people saw themselves. For example, the lecturer noted that in the sources there were often incomprehensible words, when two identities unite in a person. However, the author found a solution to this problem in using copies of bills of exchange, acknowledgments, in which ordinary people gave self-descriptions .

As a result of the discussion, Kamensky came to the conclusion that in order to understand imperialism it was necessary to deal with social history, especially in such an important period for Russia when science and enlightenment had been developing actively, professions and the category of free time had appeared, all spheres of life had been reformed. The speaker also gave the audience an opportunity to discuss the issue of social structures of the 18th century.

September 6 at the seminar "Borders of History" A.B. Kamensky gave a lecture on the XVIII century, the central theme of which was the social history and self-identification of people of that time. The author described historiography, as well as a general historical context, from the creation of the society of Anton Glen to the Soviet historiography. A.B. Kamensky noted the special interest of the scientific community to the history of Russia in the 18th century, therefore, when the conference format was created, about 150 applications were received for participation. The lecturer revealed many problems that the researcher may encounter while studying the 18th century: a large number of sources and publications, accents and biases of Soviet historiography, the absence of a general monograph. According to the lecturer, the radical change occurred during perestroika in the USSR. In the 80's and 90's in the historiography, the country's imperial past was rehabilitated and monographs of such authors as Anisimov and Pavlenko appeared and unshakable concepts were destroyed.