July 24, 2008

Making the Past Work
Arup Banerji

342 pages 215x140 mm Hardback
Social Science Press-Orient Longman Joint publication
Rs 695
ISBN 978-81-87358-37-4
Pub Date June 2008

THE HISTORY of the Soviet Union has been charted in several studies over the decades. These depictions have failed to draw attention to the political and academic environment within which these histories were composed. Writing History in the Soviet Union: Making the Past Work is aimed at understanding this environment.

The book seeks to identify the significant hallmarks of the production of Soviet history by Soviet as well as Western historians. The book surveys the rich abundance of writing the Russian Revolution generated as well as the divergent approaches to the history of the period. The conditions for research in Soviet archives are described as an aspect of official monitoring of history writing. Another instance of this is the manner by which history textbooks have, through the years, been withdrawn from schools and others officially nursed into circulation. This intervention, occasioned in the present circumstance by statements by President Putin himself, in the manner in which history is taught in Russian schools, continues to this day. In other words, over the years, the regime has always worked to make the past work.

Arup Banerji teaches Russian, Soviet and West European History at the Department of History, University of Delhi. He has published a study of private trade and traders during the 1920s, Merchants and Markets in Revolutionary Russia, 1917-30, and has written on politics and economic issues in the Russian Federation as well as on the Silk Routes.

Introduction: Inherited Traditions of Historical Scholarship
Chapter 1: The Histories of History in the Soviet Union
Chapter 2: The Impact of Glasnost on the Writing of History
Chapter 3: Histories of the Communist Party as Histories of the Soviet Union
Chapter 4: Depictions and Revisions: The Russian Revolution in History
Chapter 5: The Historical Archive
Chapter 6: History in Russian Schools

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