'Study, study and study!' Theories and Practices of Education in Imperial
and Soviet Russia,
CONFERENCE ON RUSSIAN AND SOVIET EDUCATION
Wolfson College, University of Oxford 14 May, 2004 (with possibility of
extension through 15 May)
ORGANISERS: Polly Jones (Worcester College, Oxford) and Andy Byford (Wolfson
Call for Papers
Education and ‘enlightenment’ were consistently near the top of the
political agenda from
emancipation to the end of the Soviet period. As such, they also constitute
a vital part of the
scholarly agenda for Russian and Soviet historians. This interdisciplinary
conference, which may be
extended over two days depending on interest, will bring together the
increasing numbers of scholars
whose work concerns the theory and practices of education in Russia from
1861 to 1991.
The rapid pace of modernisation from 1861 onwards generated unprecedented
increases in literacy and
the provision of basic schooling, whilst higher education expanded
exponentially, changing the
composition and self-definition of the intelligentsia. These educational
developments played an
important role in the growth of Russian civil society (obshchestvennost’),
as teachers and students
each sought to define their role and place in Tsarist society.
The advent of Soviet power, itself largely a product of these processes of
further changes in an already unstable environment. Soviet pedagogical
theories and educational
policies were conceived largely in opposition to Tsarist practices, claiming
greater equality of
access to literacy training, basic schooling and higher education, and a
more humane approach to
individual development. Soviet policies on education and enlightenment
(prosveshchenie) thus aspired
to complete the work of modernising Russian society, through universal
literacy and education,
whilst also ‘Sovietising’ the curriculum and, ultimately, those people who
studied and taught it.
However, the often utopian projects of the Soviet leadership played out in
ways in the schoolrooms and lecture halls of Soviet Russia.
Therefore, a thorough comparative examination of Russian and Soviet
education will permit us to
identify important continuities between the two periods, as well as the more
obvious changes in
ideological content. We seek papers which address any of the following
--The school in late Imperial Russia: Pedagogical theories; The culture of
the classroom; rural vs.
urban schooling; Social stratification in the provision of education.
--The growth of higher education after emancipation: Curriculum debates; The
place of the university
in Russian culture; The emergence of an academic intelligentsia; Student
life and student protest in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
--The transition to Soviet education: The evolution of Soviet pedagogical
theories; The early work
of the Ministry of Enlightenment; Intra-party debates about education;
Economic, social problems of
the early years; Debating, implementing the ‘Sovietisation’ of the Academy,
teaching personnel; The
‘Sovietisation’ of the student: education as a way to construct ‘the new
--From Stalinism to post-Stalinism: Images and realities of the Stalinist
‘Stalinisation’ of education: textbooks, the curriculum and Stalinist
nationalism and the cult); Sites of resistance, sites of indoctrination?
Popular response to the
regime(s) amongst schoolchildren, students; De-Stalinising the Soviet
school: education and
curriculum reform after Stalin.
Paper proposals, of no more than 150 words, should be sent to Dr Polly
Jones, Worcester College,
Oxford, by December 31st, 2003, via email ([log in to unmask]).
Depending on the outcome
of funding proposals, we would expect to make some contribution to travel
expenses, especially for
scholars from outside of the European Union.
Dr Polly Jones
Junior Research Fellow
Worcester College, Oxford, OX1 2HB, UK
Email: [log in to unmask]; Phone: 01865 515744