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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
An Anthropogenic Table of Elements: Experiments in the Fundamental
In press

Cherkaev X., Paxson H., Helmreich S.

Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022.

Establishing Eye Contact with One Historical Photograph

Chunikhin K.

Technology and Culture. 2022. Vol. 63. No. 3. P. 599-602.

Book chapter
The Left Opposition and the practices of parliamentarianism within the Bolshevik Party, 1923–19241

Reznik A.

In bk.: Parties as Governments in Eurasia, 1913–1991. L.: Routledge, 2022. Ch. 3. P. 85-106.

Working paper
Language and Cultural Contacts in the Russian-Nordic Borderlands: Change and Continuity

Vlakhov A., Deresh A., Mironova E. et al.

Linguistics. WP BRP. НИУ ВШЭ, 2021. No. 108.

Historical Textual Criticism

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
1 year, 3, 4 module


Dmitriev, Alexander N.

Dmitriev, Alexander N.

Course Syllabus


This course is to ground students in forms of critical analysis of texts as historical sources for their 'area' and 'field' of study. 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 purpose of this interdisciplinary, experimental course is to encourage students to think critically about textual means of analysis in the ways in which we – scholars, commentators, decision-makers and ‘lay’ human beings – divide up the world, categorise, delineate and fence off certain areas from other ones; provide theoretical and methodological tools, equipping students to deploy a critical approach to ‘area’, ‘field’ and ‘subject' in their academic and professional (and other) lives. Students are encouraged to think critically about key questions of historical methods, ethnographic fieldwork and genealogies of our divisions of the world.
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

  • learned skills of historical analysis of texts in practice of research
  • 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
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 review essay
  • non-blocking final essay exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 3rd module
  • 2021/2022 4th module
    0.5 * final essay exam + 0.5 * review essay


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