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Regular version of the site

History of Historical Science

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
1 year, 1, 2 module


Semyonov, Alexander

Course Syllabus


History of Historical Knowledge Or history writing and historical imagination This course is intended to introduce students of the graduate program to major turns in historiography of the 20th century that shaped today’s professional understanding of the craft of history. The major thread in the course is how the present-day historical profession came to reflexivity about their narratives, imaginary, and perspectivism. Historiographic turns appear to be the shifting paths of analytical language in as much as factual discoveries and turning to untapped sources. Issues of scales of historical analysis, historicity of key categories of politics and society, approaches to historical subjectivity, problems of representation and explanation are included into the discussion. Finally, the course also takes on the question of modalities of relevance of historical knowledge in the contemporary society and the fashioning of the public role of a historian.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • learning the main questions of theoretical debates on the status of historical knowledge
  • understanding the intellectual genealogy of major shifts and turns in historiography of the 20th century
  • familiariation with the issues of narrative, analytical concepts, and perspectivism in history writing
  • analyzing the public role of historical knowledge
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding the role of meta-narrative in shaping the paradigms of historical research
  • Understanding the role of the historian as one who forms new models about thinking about the future, not the past only.
  • Understanding of the concept of longue duree, its historical development, and specificity of its usage.
  • Understanding contemporary constructivist approaches to the issue of Identity, and practical outcomes of this understanding for historical research.
  • Understands how semiotics is used in historical research.
  • Understands the role of the Cultural Turn for the Humanities in general and Historical research in particular.
  • Knows how to analyse symbolics and semantics of the political and ritual representations and myths.
  • Student is able to put Russian case in the context of debates on postcoloniality.
  • Knows the trends of the emerging field of global history.
  • Understands the specificity of global history as an approach aimed at restoring the context of historical processes.
  • Can trace the intellectual genealogy of the Global History and the role of Constructivist Turn in it.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • End of history? History resumed? Debates about meta-narratives of the past.
    Using the example of Francis Fukuyama End of history argument this section is dedicated to the analysis of meta-narratives of modernity and modernization in historical research, tracing its genealogy to the debate on social sciences in the neo-Kantian turn
  • Historical Time, Temporal Scales and the Choice by Historians.
  • Proliferation of Representations and Identities: Historical Memory and National Identity
  • The Problem Colonialism and the Approach of the post-Colonial School. Social History of Imperial Diversity and the Subjectivity of the Subalterns
  • The New Relevance of Empire in Exploration of World History. Questions of Connected Histories, Temporal Scales of Pre-modern and Modern History, and Eurocentrism.
  • Ever Changing Past: Contested Global History.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation in class discussion 20%
  • non-blocking Questions for discussion 30%
  • non-blocking Term paper 50%
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.2 * Participation in class discussion 20% + 0.3 * Questions for discussion 30% + 0.5 * Term paper 50%


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Anderson, B. R. O. (2006). Imagined Communities : Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1694834
  • Brubaker, R. (DE-588)113664273, (DE-627)556780426, (DE-576)160448220, aut. (2004). Ethnicity without groups Rogers Brubaker.
  • Conrad, S. (2016). What Is Global History? Princeton: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1090930
  • GERASIMOV, I., GLEBOV, S., & MOGILNER, M. (2013). The Postimperial Meets the Postcolonial: Russian Historical Experience and the Postcolonial Moment. Ab Imperio, (2), 97–135. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2013.0058
  • Gerasimov, I., Glebov, S., Kaplunovski, A., Mogilner, M., & A. Semyonov. (2015). Time, Forward! Ab Imperio, 1, 15–19. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2015.0013
  • Gerasimov, I., Glebov, S., Kaplunovski, A., Mogilner, M., & Semyonov, A. (2015). “Big Data” and “Small Stories” for the Future. Ab Imperio, 4, 9–25. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2015.0093
  • Gerasimov, I., Glebov, S., Kaplunovski, A., Mogilner, M., & Semyonov, A. (2015). Blinded by the past. Ab Imperio, 3, 9–21.
  • Guldi, J., & Armitage, D. (2014). The History Manifesto. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139923880
  • Richard S. Wortman. (2006). Scenarios of Power : Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy From Peter the Great to the Abdication of Nicholas II - New Abridged One-Volume Edition: Vol. New abridged one-volume paperback edition. Princeton University Press.
  • Semyonov, A. (2003). “We Study Empires as We Do Dinosaurs:” Nations, Nationalism, and Empire in a Critical Perspective. Ab Imperio, 3, 57–73.
  • SEMYONOV, A. (2017). “Global History Is More Than the History of Globalization”: Interview with Sebastian Conrad. Ab Imperio, 1, 23–44. https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2017.0002
  • SEMYONOV, A. (2017). How Five Empires Shaped the World and How This Process Shaped Those Empires. Ab Imperio, 18(4), 27–51. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=30h&AN=128449757

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Brubaker, R. V. (DE-588)113664273, (DE-627)556780426, (DE-576)160448220, aut. (1992). Citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany Rogers Brubaker.
  • FUKUYAMA, F., GEDMIN, J., & DAVIDSON, C. (2019). The Last Man and the Future of History. American Interest, 14(6), 4–7.
  • Wortman, R. (2013). Russian Monarchy : Representation and Rule. Academic Studies Press.
  • Wortman, R. (2014). Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration : Collected Articles on the Representation of Russian Monarchy. Academic Studies Press.