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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Remembering the Neoliberal Turn: Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989

Gökarıksel S., Gontarska O., Hilmar T. et al.

L.: Routledge, 2023.

Revolution and Political Violence in Central Europe. The Deluge of 1919

Gužvica S.

Europe-Asia Studies. 2023. Vol. 75. No. 8. P. 1419-1421.

Book chapter
The Stolbovo Treaty and Tracing the Bordere in 1617-1618

Selin A. A.

In bk.: Sweden, Russia, and the 1617 Peace of Stolbovo. Vol. 14. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2023. P. 99-118.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

Historical Textual Criticism

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits

Автор программы

Ssorin-Chaikov, Nikolai

Ssorin-Chaikov, Nikolai
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
1 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


This course is to ground students in forms of critical analysis of texts as historical sources. It uses a wide range of examples of historical work that draws on both different textual material and different methodological strategies. The course views texts as complex and often ambiguous phenomena, as having lifelines and biographies that are socially embedded and situated. Materials of the course reflect on a variety of methodologies of critical analysis that have emerged after linguistic turn and in reaction to the postmodern challenge of the late twentieth century. The focus of the course is equally theoretical and empirical. A large part of the course is designed to incorporate the “learning-by-doing” principle, and therefore maintain a practical focus of theoretical criticism. Students will learn about the interplay between the form and content of texts, as well as about the constructions which build narratives. The workload involves mandatory participation in and preparation for in-class discussions and writing assignments of original essays.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • knowledge of how to analyze key features of text and narrative as historical sources, including the issues surrounding texts’ authorship and edition, and its status as original or copy.
  • ability to contextualize historical sources, characterize different texts and narratives, and apply various approaches to the textual analysis
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • understanding theoretical and methodological issues in the analysis of texts and narrative theory, such as fictionality, narrative instances, focalization, plot, discourse, and their implications to historical research
  • learned skills of historical analysis of texts in practice of research
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The inquisitor.
  • Language games.
  • Performativity.
  • Facts and scientific texts.
  • The cultural biography of things.
  • Archival turn.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking attendance
    Based on the class attendance
  • non-blocking Seminars participation
  • non-blocking review
  • non-blocking Exam
    Exam is organized in a form of a take home final essay: this is essay-long discussion of randomly selected two questions from the list of exam questions. Exam asks students to debate across empirical material and different approaches covered in the course. Specifically, in answering each of these questions, students are required to use at least three individual pieces of writing from this course syllabus, not to repeat material in discussion of each of the two questions, and in answering both questions to draw on only one piece of readings that you presented on in class. Late assignments will be marked down by 10% of the mark per day and if you plagiarize, you fail. Formula for calculating accumulative and final marks:
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.06 * attendance + 0.7 * Exam + 0.12 * review + 0.12 * Seminars participation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Verdery, K. (2014). Secrets and Truths : Ethnography in the Archive of Romania’s Secret Police. Budapest: Central European University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=714232

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Shapin, S. (2008). The Scientific Life : A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=285089