historiography(redirected from Critical history)
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- the writing of HISTORY; written history
- the history of historical writing, together with discussion of the methodological questions raised by the construction of historical accounts. In many ways the discussions parallel methodological discussions in the social sciences in general, not least those in sociology
(1) The history of the science of history as a whole. It may denote the entire body of research devoted to a particular theme or historical period, for example, the historiography of the Great October Socialist revolution, or it may encompass the entire body of historical works that have an inner unity on the basis of social class or nationality, for example, Marxist historiography and French historiography.
(2) The scientific discipline that studies the history of the science of history.
Historiography to the mid-19th century (to the rise of Marxist historiography). In ancient times, even before the appearance of writing, historical concepts and some elements of historical knowledge existed among all peoples in orally transmitted tales and legends and in the genealogies of ancestors. The origin of classes and of the state increased the need for historical knowledge, and the emergence of writing permitted the beginning of the accumulation of such knowledge. In early class societies some conditions for the development of historical cognition began to arise, including the elaboration of various systems of chronology. The first historical records appeared at this time, such as the historical inscriptions left by kings and pharaohs and yearly records of events. Religion exerted an enormous influence on the description and interpretation of historical events, all of which were explained as the “will of the gods.” Such historical concepts were consolidated in “sacred books,” such as the Bible.
Classical historiography represented an important stage in the progressive development of historical cognition, finding its supreme expression in the works of the ancient Greek historians Herodotus (called the “father of history”) and, especially, Thu-cydides. The latter rejected as an explanation of history the intervention of divine forces, probed the inner causes and consequences of events, and attempted to separate facts from invention. The works of these historians are no longer fragmentary accounts, but coherent literary narratives dealing mainly with political history—the history of the Greco-Persian Wars and of the Peloponnesian War. The concept of world history appeared for the first time in the works of Polybius. The works of Livy, Tacitus, Plutarch (a master of the biographical genre), and Ap-pian were of great significance in classical historiography. Despite its achievements, the idea of historical progress was absent from classical historical thought. History was portrayed as either a regressive process or a cyclical repetition of the same stages. The Chinese historian Ssu-ma Ch’ien (second-first centuries B.C.) wrote the first universal history of China, departing from the purely chronological principle of historical narration and attempting to deal not only with political history but also with other aspects of ancient Chinese life.
In the feudal period, when historical thought was shaped chiefly by the feudal-church ideology, the providential view of history predominated, regarding historical events as the result of the intervention of divine will and as the realization of a “divine plan.” This approach was reflected in the feudal-Christian peri-odization of world history into “four monarchies” (Assyrian-Babylonian, Median-Persian, Greco-Macedonian, and Roman, the last “earthly” state), whose successive rise and fall were regarded as the result of divine providence. Along with the Bible, the philosophical and historical concepts of the Christian theologian St. Augustine exerted an enormous influence on West European feudal-Christian historiography. The Koran had a correspondingly great influence on Muslim historiography. The most widespread forms of historical works, along with hagio-graphic literature, were annals and “universal histories,” such as those of the West European chronicler Otto of Freising and the Arab historian al-Tabari, which were surveys of world history from the “creation of the world.” Medieval writers as a rule saw only the external connections between phenomena in their chronological sequence. Hence, the characteristic form of historical works was that of annals, known as letopisi in Russia, with their yearly recording of events. The best known of the early Russian chronicle compilations is the Tale of Bygone Years. Historical writing developed as more complex chronicles replaced the primitive annals. Municipal chronicles appeared with the growth of cities, and chronicle compilations such as the great French chronicles of the 13th—15th centuries and the Moscow chronicle compilations of the 15th—16th centuries appeared as a result of the creation of centralized states. One of the earliest attempts in medieval historiography to move from purely narrative history to the exposition of historical events in their causal relationships, on a secular basis, was undertaken in the 14th century by the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, who rejected the explanation of historical events from a religious standpoint and regarded history as the continual change in the way of life and customs of peoples and as the rise and fall of states.
The first stage in the development of bourgeois historical thought was the West European humanist historiography of the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its most outstanding representatives, N. Machiavelli and F. Guicciardini, discerned the moving force of the historical process in the political struggle of parties and social groups replacing each other in power. The humanists attempted to reveal the laws of historical development and to link them with more general laws, working out problems of the influence of the geographic environment on history, as in the work of the French thinker J. Bodin. Such a secular approach signified a break with the feudal-theological interpretation and was a great step forward in the development of historiography. In the middle of the 15th century, the invention and subsequent spread of printing was of exceptional significance for historiography. Humanist historians such as the Italians Flavio Biondo and Lorenzo Valla made use of advances in philology in order to begin the systematic criticism of historical sources, which became a powerful tool in overcoming the concepts of feudal historiography. Humanists such as the Italian L. Bruni laid the foundation for a new periodization of history, dividing it into ancient, medieval, and modern periods. Humanist historiography undermined the monopoly of feudal historiography in Western Europe. Representatives of feudal-absolutist and feudal-Catholic historiography, in struggling against the new interpretation of history, devoted much attention to the collection, classification, and publication of historical sources. Ancillary historical disciplines such as diplomatics and paleography appeared in the 17th century. The Bollandists and Maurists issued the first extensive collections of medieval historical documents. In Russia, the collection and publication of historical sources began in the 18th century.
In the 17th century the Dutch and English bourgeois thinkers H. Grotius and T. Hobbes made the first attempts to create a theory of social development on the principles of natural law and other rationalist doctrines. The Italian thinker G. Vico revived and developed the idea of cycles in history. The question of the laws of history was posed more clearly than ever before by the French thinkers of the Enlightenment. Approaching history from the standpoint of rationalism, they sought to discover the laws of history either in man’s reason or in the interaction between society and nature, mechanically comparing the laws of history to the laws of nature. In France, men of the Enlightenment advanced the idea of writing a universal history of mankind, proceeding from the recognition of the unity of destiny of the human race (Voltaire); they set forth the theory of the natural state, affirming that at the beginning of historical development man was only a part of nature (J. J. Rousseau), and the idea of uninterrupted progress in history (Condorcet). They developed the doctrine of the influence of the natural and geographic environment on social development (Montesquieu). The thinkers of the Enlightenment considered the principal subject of the historian’s study to be not only political history but also the history of culture in the broad sense. In England and Scotland prominent historians of the Enlightenment, notably E. Gibbon and W. Robertson, provided a detailed elucidation of important periods of European history from an anticlerical and antifeudal standpoint. The philosophical and historical concepts of the Enlightenment thinkers of Germany (particularly J. G. Herder) and of Russia (notably A. N. Radishchev) had great significance; Radishchev approached history from the point of view of the revolutionary struggle against autocracy and serfdom.
At the beginning of the 19th century, representatives of the reactionary romanticism of the nobility arose in opposition to Enlightenment historiography and its ideas. The romantic historical school, especially strong in German history and historical jurisprudence, rejected the existence of upheavals in history, idealized the Middle Ages, and denied the rationalist explanation of history. However, despite the reactionary nature of their general position, the romantics introduced fruitful ideas into the development of the science of history. They insisted on the existence of internal links between historical periods, believing that the contemporary condition of all peoples was the product of long historical development, and they called attention to the qualitative uniqueness of the history of certain peoples. Prominent representatives of the historical school of law in Germany, such as F. K. von Savigny and K. F. Eichhorn, made a significant contribution to the study of the history of the state and law, basing their research on the careful study and criticism of historical sources.
Classical philology played an important role in the elaboration of critical historical research methods. Its application to ancient history by the German scholars F. A. Wolf, A. Boeckh, and B. G. Niebuhr signified a new stage in the development of this branch of the science of history. The German L. von Ranke was the first to systematically apply to medieval and modern sources the research principle previously introduced by classical philologists. The progress in the study of sources led to the publication of the first scholarly serial collections of sources for the history of the ancient world (Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, from 1825; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 1863) and of the Middle Ages (Monumenta Germaniae historicd). Nevertheless, Ranke’s conception of history, in its belief in divine providence and the decisive role of ideas in history, in its assertion of the primacy of foreign policy over domestic, and in its primary attention to the activity of “great men,” was reactionary in character. Ranke’s views had a strong and prolonged influence on the conservative, Junker-bourgeois school of historiography in Germany.
In the Russian historiography of this period the noble-monarchist school predominated; its leading representatives in the first half of the 19th century were N. M. Karamzin and M. P. Pogodin. This school upheld the decisive role of autocracy in Russian history and affirmed that in the pre-Petrine period the historical development of Russia and Western Europe proceeded along very different lines and that Russia must eschew a revolutionary path of development. The “skeptical school” of Russian historiography, which included M. T. Kachenovskii, called for a critical approach to historical sources and began a critical reexamination of many of the interpretations of noble historiography.
In the early 19th century the philosophical and historical ideas of Utopian socialism (above all those of Saint-Simon) and the philosophy of G. Hegel exerted a great influence on the progress of historical ideas. Within the framework of an idealist philosophy of history, Hegel undertook the most fruitful attempt to reveal the internal connection between the uninterrupted movement, change, and transformation that is inherent in the history of mankind. Saint-Simon’s idea of the role of class struggle in history, which developed from the general conclusions that he had drawn from the experience of the Great French revolution, was taken up by the French liberal-bourgeois historians of the Restoration—A. Thiers, F. Mignet, and F. Guizot. Despite the historical and class limitations of their theory of class struggle, such as their “conquest” theory of the origin of classes and their identification of class struggle with the struggle between “races,” their working out of the history of France and England as the history of class struggle was a phenomenon of great significance in world historiography.
The approach of many prominent 19th-century historians was characterized by recognition of the laws of historical development and by efforts to establish the interdependence of historical phenomena and to interpret history as the process of development primarily of political and legal institutions, with special attention to the history of the state (which was often identified with the history of the people). S. M. Solov’ev’s interpretation of Russian history, in particular, was based on these concepts.
Pre-Marxist historical thought reached its highest development in the revolutionary-democratic conception of history. The historical views of V. G. Belinskii, A. I. Herzen, N. A. Dobroliubov, N. G. Chernyshevskii, and the historian and democrat A. P. Shchapov reflected the convergence of historical knowledge with the materialist conception of history.
The revolutionary democrats adhered ultimately to idealism in methodology in the social sciences; but in raising the question of objective laws of history, which they believed were the same for all peoples, they ascribed special importance to the development of economic life and to changes in the socio-economic conditions of the popular masses. At the heart of the revolutionary democrats’ conception was the idea of the decisive role of the popular masses in social development, in the course of which the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors was of crucial importance. The revolutionary democratic view of history in many ways paved the way for the spread of the materialist interpretation of history in Russia.
The rise of Marxist historiography. Despite the significant progress in historical cognition, all of pre-Marxist historiography was characterized by an idealist interpretation of the basic causes of the development of society. With Marx’ and Engels’ extension of dialectical materialism to social phenomena, history for the first time acquired a consistently scientific methodological basis. The emergence of the materialist conception of history became a turning point in the development of knowledge about social life. Marxism proved that the moving forces of history are determined by material production, by the rise, development, and decline of different modes of production engendering the entire social structure. The key to the investigation of the self-movement of human society was found in the laws of development of the modes of production. This indicated the way “to a scientific study of history as a single process, which with all its immense variety and contradictoriness is governed by definite laws” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 58). The application of the doctrine of socioeconomic formations, as a guiding methodological principle, to the analysis of concrete social phenomena made it possible to “correctly and accurately depict the actual historical process” (ibid, vol. 1, p. 164). Using this principle, Marx and Engels demonstrated that the objective course of history itself leads to the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, to the abolition of capitalism by the socialist revolution, and to the victory of communism. Marx’ and Engels’ revelation of the significance of class struggle and revolution in history, of the world-historical mission of the working class, and of the role of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the proletarian party armed historical science with an understanding of the chief and crucial problems of social development. In this manner historical knowledge was organically united with practice in the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.
Marx’ Das Kapital was of immense importance in the development of Marxist historical science. With the appearance of Das Kapital (the first volume was published in 1867), the materialist conception of history was transformed from a scientific hypothesis into a strict scientific theory, confirmed by a comprehensive analysis of capitalism, a theory that became a synonym for the only scientific perception of history (ibid., p. 140). Marx and Engels provided examples of the application of the Marxist dialectical method not only in their work on general philosophical and economic problems but also on specific historical problems. This was reflected in such historical studies as Marx’ The Class Struggle in France and The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte and Engels’ The Peasant War in Germany and The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. In their works Marx and Engels dealt most thoroughly with the history of capitalist society, bourgeois revolutions, and the workers’ and national liberation movement, although they also worked on many cardinal problems of the history of precapitalist formations.
Bourgeois historiography in the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. Bourgeois historical science of the second half of the 19th century made important advances in collecting facts as well as submitting them to preliminary analysis, in raising the standards and improving the techniques of research, in developing ancillary historical disciplines, and in publishing historical sources. The study and teaching of history became more organized: chairs of history and historical seminars were established in universities, numerous historical societies arose, and the number of historical journals increased rapidly. The scope of the problems studied by historical science broadened. As before, the history of political events occupied a predominant place in bourgeois historiography. However, bourgeois historiography embarked on a rather broad investigation of the history of spiritual and material culture and the history of socioeconomic life, industry, commerce, and, somewhat later, social movements. In their research historians began to use a comparative historical method and to make more frequent use of statistics. There were major advances in research on the early stages of the development of human society. The problem of the clan as the universal form of primitive social organization received for the first time comprehensive treatment in the works of the American scholar L. H. Morgan. The works of the German G. L. Maurer, the author of the communal theory, showed that private property was not the original form of landowner-ship. One of the most important studies on classical history was the German historian T. Mommsen’s History of Rome, which strongly influenced the subsequent development of bourgeois historiography of the classical world. The origin of West European feudalism was an important problem for medievalists. The polemics, begun as early as the 18th century, between the so-called Germanists and Romanists on the role of German and Roman institutions in the rise of feudalism were now revived. Among bourgeois medievalists—both those of the legal-historical school (Maurer, G. Waitz, and P. Roth in Germany and W. Stubbs in Great Britain) and those of the economic-historical school that became increasingly influential from the mid-1870’s—the idea of a qualitative difference between medieval and late Roman society predominated; they emphasized the decisive role in the early Middle Ages of the free peasantry and commune, whose importance was also recognized by representatives of the patrimonial estate theory in the second half of the 19th century, notably the Germans K. T. Inama-Sternegg and K. Lamprecht. Bourgeois specialists in modern history turned to problems of the bourgeois revolutions. In French historiography the liberal-republican tradition in the study of the Great French revolution, represented by F. Aulard and his school, gained ground from the 1870’s, struggling against the clerical-monarchist, bourgeois-noble, and other reactionary schools of historical thought that were represented by A. de Tocqueville, H. Taine, and others. English liberal historiography, reflecting the growing conservatism of the English bourgeoisie, followed T. B. Ma-caulay’s example in juxtaposing the bloodless “Glorious revolution” of 1688–89 with the “excesses” of the revolutionary events of the 1640’s. S. R. Gardiner offered an interpretation of the English revolution that depicted it as a purely religious, “Puritan” revolution, without class struggle.
The development of bourgeois historiography in the second half of the 19th century in the leading countries of Europe and the USA was strongly influenced by positivism, represented by A. Comte and H. Spencer. Positivist historiography criticized traditional historiography (which had restricted the historian’s task to the description of specific events and the activity of “great men”), gave more attention to social and economic history, and rejected speculative systems in favor of the accumulation and careful, critical verification and description of “positive” historical facts. In this respect, the positivist stage in historiography represented a step forward in the development of bourgeois historical science. At the same time, positivist historiography was characterized by a mechanistic interpretation of the idea of historical laws, by a denial of revolutionary leaps in history, and by propagation of evolutionary and agnostic explanations of the essence and causes of historical phenomena. Developing during the culminating stage of the industrial revolution and under conditions marked by the growth of the workers’ movement and the proletariat’s class struggle, positivist historiography sharply criticized the Marxist world view and young Marxist historiography.
Historians of the liberal-positivist school in Great Britain, notably T. Rogers and W. Cunningham, wrote the first important works in economic history. This school also produced works of a general, synthesizing character, including H. T. Buckle’s History of Civilization in England and J. R. Green’s History of the English People. Positivist historiography developed intensively in the USA, particularly after the Civil War (1861–65); the works of the historian and sociologist J. Draper were of great significance. A new phenomenon in Russian historiography was the work of V. O. Kliuchevskii, who based his study of the Russian historical process on an analysis of social and economic factors (especially in his works of the 1880’s). Many of Kliuchev-skii’s views were in opposition to the historical conceptions of the state school, represented by B. N. Chicherin and K. D. Kavelin, which previously had dominated Russian historiography. Positivism strongly influenced the world outlook of N. P. Pavlov-Sil’-vanskii, who upheld the unity of the Russian and West European historical process and who demonstrated the existence of feudalism in medieval Rus’ (at that time denied by Russian bourgeois and noble historians). After the 1870’s there developed an influential liberal-positivist school of Russian historians who studied West European history, including N. I. Kareev, M. M. Kovalev-skii, P. G. Vinogradoff, I. V. Luchitskii, and later D. M. Petru-shevskii and A. N. Savin. These historians made an especially important contribution to scholarship on the agrarian history of France and England. The influence of positivism in Germany was negligible, the most important German positivist historian being K. Lamprecht. After the unification of the nation “from above,” a rapprochement occurred between the liberal and conservative schools in historiography (the latter descending from L. von Ranke). The historians of the kleindeutsch school, led by H. von Sybel, H. von Treitschke, and J. G. Droysen, created the legend of the “historic mission” of the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty to unify Germany.
By the end of the 19th century signs of a crisis were appearing in bourgeois historiography, primarily in methodology. The social causes of this crisis were linked to the onset of the era of imperialism and to the intensification of contradictions in the capitalist system. The epistemological causes of the crisis were associated with the complete breakdown of the positivist approach to the historical process, which was becoming evident at this time. The bourgeois historiography in the leading capitalist countries showed a tendency to reexamine the theoretical and methodological foundations of history as a science, that is, it refused to acknowledge the progressive character of social development, governed by definite laws, the unity of the world historical process, and the objective character of historical knowledge itself. There was an increasing tendency toward the rapprochement of history with literature and art, although not with the exact sciences as had been characteristic of positivism. The symptoms of this crisis were especially marked in Germany, manifested in the spread of the views of M. Weber and those of the “idiographic” Baden school of neo-Kantianism led by W. Windelband and H. Rickert, as well as in the opposition from the historians G. von Below, F. Meinecke, and H. Oncken to the idea of historical laws. The “antipositivist reaction” was also strong in Italian historiography, where B. Croce’s neo-Hegelian “ethical-political” interpretation of history became dominant, replacing the traditional “critical-philological” and “economic-juridical” schools (then undergoing a crisis), which were connected with positivism. Croce’s interpretation retained its influence in Italian historiography of the 20th century.
The turn of the 20th century was a time of outstanding archaeological discoveries, which were assimilated by historical science. Historiography continued to accumulate factual material and to fruitfully study particular aspects of the historical process. Historians devoted ever greater attention to economic and social relationships, including those in antiquity (as in the works of the Germans E. Meyer and R. Pöhlmann). The study and teaching of history became well organized, and basic comprehensive works appeared, such as The Cambridge History, the Universal History of E. Lavisse and A. Rambaud, and The History of Western Europe in Modern Times of N. I. Kareev. Important studies on the history of the Great French revolution were written by F. Aulard and his school and by A. Mathiez. Other French studies included the works on social and economic history of E. Levasseur and G. Weill, and the comprehensive Socialist History of the French revolution, written from a progressive viewpoint under the direction and with the participation of J. Jaurès. In the USA the foundations of the influential school of bourgeois economism were laid with the appearance of F. J. Turner’s works on the “moving frontier,” which he regarded as the most important factor in the development of the USA in the modern period. C. Beard wrote his first works at this time, attempting to discover socioeconomic roots in the political struggle in the USA during the first American revolution.
Nevertheless, the historiography of the turn of the 20th century was marked by reactionary tendencies, even in specific historical studies. At this time there arose the so-called critical school, which used a reactionary methodology in its reexamination of the liberal interpretations that had prevailed in bourgeois historiography in the second half of the 19th century. The tendency to view the past in modern terms, already inherent in bourgeois historiography, grew stronger. In their attempt to prove that capitalism had existed in the very distant past, the historians of this school “discovered” capitalism in antiquity (E. Meyer) and in the Middle Ages (the Austrian A. Dopsch). The idea of a continuity in the transition from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, advanced by the French historian N. D. Fustel de Coulanges and linked to a denial of revolutionary leaps in history, gained ever wider acceptance in bourgeois historiography. In Russia the crisis of bourgeois historical science manifested itself in the revival of the idea of a fundamental difference in the historical development of Russia and Western Europe (particularly in the works of P. N. Miliukov) and in the influence of neo-Kantian ideas in methodology (A. S. Lappo-Danilevskii and D. M. Petrushevskii). The growing reactionary trends in bourgeois historiography were directed not only against Marxism but also against various liberal and democratic approaches to the historical process. Among such reactionary currents were the right-wing bourgeois historiography in France, Pan-German historiography, the expansionist school in American history, and the chauvinist school in Italy.
The Marxist school of historiography at the turn of the 20th century. The beginning of the Leninist stage in Marxist historiography. Marxist historiography developed at the turn of the 20th century, opposing and struggling against the prevailing bourgeois historiography. Solid contributions to scholarship on the history of the labor movement, capitalism, the peasantry and peasant movements, revolutions, and social thought were made by G. V. Plekhanov, F. Mehring, A. Bebel, P. Lafargue, J. Connolly, A. Labriola, D. Blagoev, and other exponents of Marxism. However, the increasing opportunism of a number of Second International ideologists, such as the German Social Democrats E. Bernstein, K. Kautsky, and H. Cunow, negatively influenced the development of Marxist historical thought. Their opportunism was reflected in their historical views on such important problems as the history of capitalism, the international workers’ movement, and colonial policy.
The works of Lenin marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of Marxist historical thought. Lenin’s elaboration of the theoretical and methodological principles of the social sciences, including the science of history, was especially significant for historiography. Lenin developed materialist epis-temology and dialectical-materialist historicism, defended scientific tenets proving the existence of objective historical laws and the knowability of historical phenomena, and elaborated principles of party-mindedness (partiinost’) in historical science and the class approach to the evaluation of historical events (What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social Democrats and Materialism and Empirio-criticism). All this was most important in view of the theoretical and methodological crisis of bourgeois historical science, then in its initial stage. Struggling against bourgeois and reformist historiography, Lenin developed and enriched the Marxist conception of the world-historical process in his work on problems of the socialist revolution, the role of the popular masses in bourgeois revolutions, and the workers’, democratic, and national liberation movements. In his theory of imperialism, set forth in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism and other works, Lenin provided a firm methodological base for the scientific study of modern history. As early as the 1890’s, in such works as The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Lenin laid the foundations of the Marxist conception of Russian history. His works resolved such basic problems as the periodization of Russian history and of the Russian revolutionary movement, the specific features of feudalism in Russia, the origin of capitalism, socioeconomic and political development in Russia in the reform period, and the domestic and foreign policies of tsarism. A great many party figures, publicists, and historians in Russia elaborated the Marxist conception of Russian and world history.
Marxist historiography in the USSR and other countries after 1917. The victory of the Great October Socialist revolution in Russia created for the first time the conditions for transforming Marxist historiography into the dominant school of historical science of a whole country. Soviet historical science developed in the course of a fierce struggle with bourgeois-landlord and Menshevik historical conceptions, with the Trotskyists and followers of Kautsky, and with other distortions of history. Soviet historical science rested on the basic works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. In the post-October period, Lenin’s development of the Marxist conception of the historical process was of enormous significance: he drew conclusions from the preparation and carrying through of the October revolution, from the first years of Soviet power, and from the history of the party and of the international workers’ and national liberation movements. The demands of socialist construction and the tasks of the communist upbringing of workers and of combating hostile ideology made it imperative for young Soviet historiography to work on new historical problems. An important stage in the rise of Soviet Marxist historiography was the research of Soviet historians of the first generation—notably A. A. Adoratskii, M. N. Pokrov-skii, I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov, E. M. Iaroslavskii, V. I. Nevskii, F. A. Rotshtein, M. S. Ol’minskii, N. N. Baturin, and M. P. Pavlovich—on such topical problems of modern and contemporary Russian and world history as bourgeois revolutions (especially the Great French revolution), the Paris Commune, the rise and development of Marxism, the Russian revolutionary movement, Bolshevism, the Great October revolution, and the national liberation movements. Research on these new historical problems was organically linked to the formulation and solution of the most important theoretical problems, including the role of revolution in world history, the laws of class struggle in various stages of social development, the difference between the Great October Socialist revolution and past revolutions, the character, moving forces, and international significance of the October revolution, and the role of the popular masses in history.
A new historiography dealing with traditional problems and periods of history was created in the course of reexamining and overcoming idealist conceptions of the world-historical process and affirming the materialist conception of history and through a thorough study and reinterpretation of the historical material amassed by pre-revolutionary historical science. Marxist historians of the first generation subjected to searching criticism the most important theoretical tenets of bourgeois historiography— historical idealism, pluralism, and the various forms of viewing the past in modern terms—and the restricted nature of the problems studied by bourgeois historiography, such as ignoring the history of class struggle.
M. N. Pokrovskii, the first professional Russian historian to attempt a systematic exposition of Russian history from a Marxist position, played a leading role in the formative period of Soviet historical science. The successes and the difficulties of the first stage of the development of Marxist historical science in the USSR were clearly reflected in Pokrovskii’s work. Attempts to discover new paths for historical thought led to some incorrect evaluations and tenets and gave rise to oversimplification, “economic materialism,” and vulgar sociologism in the Soviet historiography of this period, owing to the narrowness of the factual base of research on most historical problems and to the inadequate Marxist training of young historians. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s Marxist historians’ discussion about socioeconomic formations, the “Asiatic mode of production,” primitive communism, slaveholding, and feudalism reflected the strengths and weaknesses of the first stage of development of Soviet historiography. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, Soviet historians criticized and overcame both the bourgeois-apologetic and nihilist approaches to the past.
A new stage in the development of Soviet historical science began in the mid-1930’s. By this time Marxist-Leninist theory and methodology had become firmly established in all spheres of historical study. The interpretation of the world-historical process as a lawlike sequence of socioeconomic formations—primitive communal society, the slaveholding formation, feudalism, capitalism, and socialism (communism)—became predominant in Soviet historical science. The growth of professional skills and the training of Marxist historians (also in those branches of historical science that had been previously the monopoly of old pre-revolutionary historians) permitted the undertaking of intensive work and the writing of monographs dealing with many problems and periods of Russian and world history. The study of socioeconomic relations and the conditions of the direct producers occupied the central place in historical studies. Thus, researchers studying the history of Russian and West European feudalism had their greatest successes in studying agrarian relationships, the history of the peasantry, and ancient Russian crafts. Outstanding are B. D. Grekov’s and N. M. Druzhinin’s studies on the history of the peasantry in Russia, E. A. Kosmin-skii’s and S. D. Skazkin’s works on the agrarian history of West European countries, and B. A. Rybakov’s research on ancient Russian crafts. Historians studied and discussed the social and economic preconditions of the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Russia.
In this period particular attention was devoted to revealing the unity of the world-historical process and the general laws of social development. For example, in ancient history it became firmly established that the societies of the ancient East and those of the classical world were slaveholding societies; there were many efforts to overcome the “Europocentrism” typical of bourgeois historiography and to prove the fundamental unity of the paths of social development of the countries of the East and West. The feudal character of Kievan Rus’ was established. In prewar, wartime, and postwar scholarship an important place was occupied by works exposing the fascist falsification of the history of the Russian and other Slavic peoples and by works on the history of wars, the art of war, and military-patriotic subjects. Nevertheless, historical science suffered in these years from elements of dogmatism and oversimplification; in the study of a number of problems, particularly in the history of the Great October revolution, the Civil War of 1918–20, and the subsequent development of Soviet society, one-sided, subjective interpretations arose under the influence of the cult of personality of Stalin.
The elimination of the negative consequences of the cult of personality, beginning in the mid-1950’s, fostered the more consistent application of Marxist-Leninist principles in the study of historical processes. The scope of problems subjected to historical investigation was expanded. In domestic history the center of gravity shifted to the study of the history of Soviet society. The historiography of Soviet society and the party—the study of which had lagged in the preceding period—was enriched by valuable publications of documents, as well as by monographs and collaborative works on the history of the October revolution, the Soviet working class and peasantry, socialist industrialization and collectivization, and national-state construction in the USSR. Historians began to work more intensively on the history of Marxism and Leninism, on the most topical problems of the history of the world workers’ and communist movement, on the history of the countries of the socialist community, on the formation and development of the world socialist system, and on the history of national liberation movements. Research in Slavic studies developed significantly. For the first time in Soviet historiography, the history of the countries of Africa and Latin America began to be studied, and research on the history of Asian countries was considerably broadened.
Marxist-Leninist conceptions of the world-historical process were further developed and refined, owing largely to the discussions in the 1960’s on socioeconomic structures and the “Asiatic mode of production,” the origin of feudalism in Russia, Europe, and the East, the “ascending” and “descending” stages of the feudal structure in Russia, the origin of capitalism in Russia and Western Europe, the principal stages of the Russian revolutionary movement and paths for its future study, and Russian imperialism. While emphasizing, as before, the general laws of the historical process, Soviet scholars began to devote more attention to their specific manifestations in different regions and countries of the world and to different variants and types of historical development. The history of ideology and culture received greater attention than in the preceding period, and there was a noticeable tendency toward more thorough investigation of classes and social groups in different historical periods. Historians began to work more intensively on the history of historical science. There was a broadening of the scope of the problems relating to the methodology of Marxist historiography (including the correlation of history with the theory of historical materialism; the criteria of truth in historical science; the subject, method, and tasks of Marxist historiography; and the specific character of historical research), as well as an expansion of the problems concerning the conceptual framework of Marxist historiography (including periodization and the nature of historical facts and transitional periods).
In the period of Marxist historiography in the USSR, Soviet historians have produced many valuable studies that have received recognition in the USSR and abroad. In research, a number of schools have developed, distinguished by the specific character of their work on important problems in history, for example, those of M. N. Tikhomirov (Russian history of the feudal period), A. L. Sidorov (the history of Russian imperialism), I. I. Mints (the history of the Great October revolution), and M. V. Nechkina (the history of the Russian revolutionary movement of the 19th century). The development of schools studying the Great French revolution and the history of socialist theories is associated with N. M. Lukin and V. P. Volgin. Other research schools include those of E. A. Kosminskii and A. I. Neusykhin (the agrarian history of Western Europe in the Middle Ages), V. V. Struve (the history of the ancient East), V. B. Lutskii (the modern and contemporary history of the Arab countries), and I. M. Reisner (the history of India). The rise and achievements of national historiography in the Union republics and the training of Marxist historians in these republics attests to the fruitful development of Soviet historical science.
The Marxist-Leninist conception of domestic and world history was concretely embodied in basic, comprehensive collaborative works: the ten-volume World History (1955–66) and the 12-volume History of the USSR From Ancient Times to the Present. The five-volume History of the Civil War in Russia (193660) and the six-volume History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941–1945 (1963–65) were written, and the six-volume History of the CPSU is being published. Collaborative works by Soviet historians dealing with bourgeois revolutions include The French Bourgeois revolution of 1789–1794 (1941). The revolution of1848–1849 (vols. 1–2, 1952), and The English Bourgeois revolution of the 17th Century (vols. 1–2, 1954). The results of research on the international workers’ movement were gathered in the collaborative works The Paris Commune of 1871 (vols. 1–2, 1961), The First International (parts 1–3, 1964–68), History of the Second International (vols. 1–2, 1965–66), and a short history of the Comintern (1969) prepared by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. The collaborative History of Diplomacy (1st ed., vols. 1–3, 1941–45; 2nd rev. ed., vols. 1–3, 1959–65) provides a Marxist treatment of the entire history of diplomacy. Specialized comprehensive works devoted to the foreign policy of the USSR include the History of International Relations and the Foreign Policy of the USSR (2nd ed., vols. 1–3, 1967), The Soviet Union and the United Nations (vols. 1–2, 1965), and The Soviet Union and the United Nations, 1961–1965 (1968). Comprehensive collaborative works have been written on the history of many foreign countries, including Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Rumania, the USA, Italy, and Germany; collective works have also been written on the modern and contemporary history of the East and of Latin America. The basic three-volume History of Byzantium was published in 1967, and the Soviet Historical Encyclopedia, the first Marxist general reference work on historical problems, is being published; as of 1975,15 volumes had appeared.
The formation of the world socialist system created the preconditions for the victory of Marxist-Leninist ideology in a large number of countries. General processes, as well as specific national features, were revealed in the young Marxist historiography in socialist countries abroad. Three main stages in the development of the historiography of most of these countries may be distinguished, basically connected with the common landmarks of their historical development. In the first period, from 1945 to the end of the 1940’s, steps were taken to place historical science on a new foundation and to significantly expand the organization of historical science, the study of sources, and the publication of historical works. During this period, however, the Marxist school, under conditions of fierce ideological, political, and class struggle, only began to establish itself as the dominant school in historiography. Scholars who based themselves on the old bourgeois methodology continued, as a rule, to dominate historical research and teaching. From the late 1940’s to the mid-1950’s, with the strengthening of the creative nucleus of Marxist historians and with the appearance of a large number of monographs, Marxist methodology gradually achieved a more leading position. However, this process was complex and contradictory and did not yet embrace all fields of historical science. Since the mid-1950’s, the final victory of Marxist-Leninist methodology in historical research has been achieved. The consolidation and victory of Marxist historiography took place under the ideological leadership of the Communist parties.
In research on specific historical problems two principal trends may be discerned among historians of the socialist countries. The first of these trends consists in a scholarly, critical reinterpretation of former bourgeois conceptions of national history, such as the reconstruction of the basic course of the modern and contemporary history of Germany and the history of the German workers’ movement in the general works and specialized monographs of the historians of the German Democratic Republic (notably G. Schilfert, J. Streisand, K. Obermann, E. Engelberg, and H. Barthel); Czech scholars’ new treatment of the revolution of 1848 as not only a national but also a social-class movement; and Hungarian historians’ study of the liberation struggle of the Hungarian people against the Hapsburgs.
The second major trend in the research of the historians of socialist countries has been the discovery and work on new problems, including those that had been ignored by previous scholarship. Entire periods of national history have been interpreted for the first time, and the objective socioeconomic foundations of basic social processes, long obscured, have been revealed. Examples of such scholarship include the fruitful work on the workers’ and peasant movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria (N. Gasiorowska-Grabowska, M. Gosiorovsky, A. Ojetea), the studies on the influence of the Russian revolution of 1905–07 and of the Great October Socialist revolution on the developing class and national struggle (L. Stern, P. Constantinescu-Jas), F. Culinovic), and the thorough study of the antifascist Resistance movement by scholars in the German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Rumania (O. Winzer, J. Marjanovic; various collaborative works). There has been a marked tendency toward research in contemporary history, and an important place is given to the study of the popular-democratic and socialist revolutions and of socialist construction.
The thorough elaboration of such key problems of domestic history as the history of the peasantry and its class struggle, the formation of the proletariat, and the development of the workers’ movement, of the national liberation movement of the 19th and early 20th century, and of the antifascist struggle permitted the writing of comprehensive works on the history of Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and other countries on the basis of Marxist-Leninist methodology.
Historians are devoting much attention to work on the history of revolutionary, cultural, and scholarly ties among the countries of the socialist system. Scholarly contacts among historians of the socialist countries, utilization of the experience of Soviet historiography, and joint work on a number of major historical problems all play an important role in the development of the historiography of the socialist countries. The growing importance of Marxist historiography after World War II (1939–45) and the collaborative work on important problems by Marxist historians in many countries are new phenomena in the development of world historiography as a whole. An index of the rising influence of the Marxist historiography of the socialist countries on world historical science is their active participation in international historical congresses. Soviet scholars now appear in the international arena along with historians from other socialist countries, finding support among progressive historians from capitalist countries.
The contemporary period, particularly the years since World War II, has been marked by a considerable growth of the Marxist school of historiography even in many capitalist countries. Marxist historians in these countries have made a very important contribution to work on modern and contemporary history, the workers’ and socialist movement, the revolutionary traditions of their peoples, economic history, and the condition of the working masses. There is a strong Marxist school in the historiography of France, Italy, Japan, and a number of other countries. Marxist historiography in France has worked most intensively on the history of popular movements, the Great French revolution, economic history, the history of the workers’ and socialist movement, colonial policy, and the Resistance movement. Its representatives include A. Soboul, C. Willard, G. Willard, J. Bruhat, and F. Chesneaux. Italian Marxist historians, such as E. Sereni, G. Candeloro, G. Manacorda, and G. Berti, have made detailed studies of various problems of Italian history, including the Risorgimento, the history of the workers’ and socialist movement, fascism and the antifascist movement, and national economic history. Marxist historians in the USA, notably J. Allen, H. Aptheker, W. Foster, V. Perlo, and P. Foner, have written works embracing virtually all important problems of the history of the USA, including the country’s socioeconomic development, the two American revolutions, and the workers’ and Negro movements. Marxist historians of Great Britain, such as A. Morton and M. Dobb, as well as those of other countries, are working on the major problems of national history.
Exposure of the social and ideological tendencies of bourgeois and reformist historiography occupies an important place in the Marxist historiography of both socialist and capitalist countries.
The growth of Marxist historiography in capitalist countries is a matter of great importance. It is not only connected with new achievements in developing scientific conceptions of the national history of these countries but also promotes ever greater differentiation within bourgeois historiography. Under the influence of the advances of the Marxist school, many historians in capitalist countries are initiating a dialogue and sometimes also collaborating with Marxist historians. A large, progressive, democratic camp has arisen in the historiography of some countries, for example, Italy, where the Marxist trend occupies a respected place.
Latin American historians are making an important contribution to the development of Marxist historiography. Marxist historians of Argentina (R. Iscaro, B. Marianetti, L. Paso), Brazil (C. Prado Junior, R. Faco, O. Brandao), and Chile (V. Teitel-boim, H. Ramirez Necochea) have accomplished much in working out scientific conceptions of the history of these countries, contributing to the study of major socioeconomic processes and of the class and anti-imperialist struggle. Their work has assisted the rapprochement of all progressive, national-democratic, and anti-imperialist forces.
Bourgeois historiography after 1917. After World War I (1914–18) and the Great October Socialist revolution the main trend in historiography was shaped by the confrontation between Marxist-Leninist and bourgeois historiography over basic methodological and specific historical questions. In the contemporary period bourgeois historiography and the reformist school associated with it are in a state of ever deepening crisis. The crisis may be observed in the ideological and methodological aims of much of bourgeois historiography, in the deep inroads of relativism and subjectivism, and in the rejection of historical laws, all of which undermine the very foundation of history as a science. In bourgeois historiography the discrepancy is widening between an increasing flow of published scholarly works and declining cognitive possibilities. There has been a growing politicization of a number of currents of bourgeois historiography; entire schools and trends have become openly subservient to reactionary ruling circles and the monopolistic bourgeoisie. Another important aspect of the crisis of bourgeois historiography has been the increasing differentiation among bourgeois historians in the face of the collapse of their traditional ideas and the successes of Marxist historiography.
Bourgeois historiography after 1917 may be divided into the period preceding World War II (1939-15) and the period following it. The historiography of the first of these periods was dominated by Great Britain and France, the victors in World War I (1914–18). German historiography, which previously had set the tone in many fields of historical research, experienced a decline after Germany’s defeat. In the interwar period in Great Britain, Labourite historiography, led by G. D. H. Cole, developed vigorously and placed the history of the workers’ movement on an equal footing with other subjects of academic research. Symptoms of the crisis of bourgeois historiography were clearly manifested in A. J. Toynbee’s reactionary view of the world-historical process as the development and succession of closed, separate civilizations and in the sweeping revision by L. Namier and his school of traditional liberal conceptions of national history. The Society of Robespierrist Studies, headed first by A. Mathiez and later by G. Lefebvre, was an important phenomenon in French historiography, publishing valuable works on the social and economic history of the Great French revolution that were influenced by Marxist methodology. The emergence in the 1920’s of the influential school of economic and social history associated with the journal Annales and led by M. Bloch and L. Febvre represented an attempt to surmount the crisis of bourgeois historiography. The Annales school has produced valuable works on the socio-economic history of West European feudalism and on the history of culture. The Belgian historian H. Pirenne was close to this school. Nevertheless, Dopsch’s interpretation exerted the greatest influence on West European bourgeois historians’ approach to the basic problems of medieval history.
In the USA the bourgeois economism of C. Beard and his school became widespread, and the study of the workers’ movement gained ground and became part of “academic” scholarship under the leadership of J. Commons and his followers, the Commons-Wisconsin school. Despite these historians’ accumulation of an enormous number of facts and their success in elucidating various aspects of the historical development of the USA, their works have generally been apologias, far removed from the scientific reconstruction of the fundamental processes of national history.
In Weimar Germany the struggle between extreme reactionary nationalist currents, represented by G. von Below and D. Schäfer, and liberal trends (with which social-reformist tendencies were linked) ended with the victory of the former at the beginning of the 1930’s. Traditional German “historicism” surrendered first to open relativism and thereafter, as a logical consequence, to the Nazi’s wild “theory of rhythms” in social development.
After World War II there was a further deepening of the crisis of bourgeois historiography and a growing differentiation among bourgeois historians as a result of the development of Marxist historiography in the socialist and even the capitalist countries. Interest in the theoretical problems of historical science grew as bourgeois historical science attempted to oppose Marxist methodology with its own historical synthesis. The present stage is characterized by the ever wider application of the research techniques and results achieved in such closely related scholarly disciplines as sociology, economics, demography, and social psychology. The application of these techniques and results, however, is often accompanied by adoption of the reactionary theories prevailing in bourgeois sociology and other related disciplines, and it is often a means of creating a historical synthesis within the framework of an idealist methodology. (The growing influence on historiography of reactionary sociological theories is especially characteristic of many schools of contemporary bourgeois historical science in the USA.) The widespread application of the structural method and enthusiasm for the quantitative methods of the related economic sciences are extremely telling indicators of the state of contemporary bourgeois historiography. Exclusive concern with research techniques is supplanting methodology, and auxiliary methods capable of enriching and deepening the historian’s work are becoming objectives in themselves. Such “structuralization” and “mathemat-icization” of historical knowledge, as practiced by many bourgeois historians, is further proof of the deepening crisis of contemporary bourgeois historiography.
Marxism’s growing influence on bourgeois historiography is manifested not only in the movement of some progressive historians toward Marxist positions in treating a number of important historical problems but also in the attention given to questions and aspects of the historical process that were previously ignored by “academic” scholarship. Contemporary bourgeois historiography shows a growing interest in economic history, as may be seen by the increased emphasis given to economic factors in historical research, the creation of numerous centers to organize and coordinate research on socioeconomic problems, and, since 1960, the convening of international congresses on economic history. However, in treating economic problems bourgeois historiography concentrates on the history of trade and finance and to some extent of technology, neglecting research on the relations of production and studying the economic structure without reference to the class struggle. Thus, bourgeois historiography’s assimilation of the tenet of the role of the economic structure in social development takes the form of apprehending the ideas of economic materialism. Among reactionary bourgeois historians, work on problems of economic history is accompanied by the creation or adoption of bourgeois-apologetic, historical-economic views, such as the theory of “old” and “new” capitalism (according to which all social ills and the deprivations of the popular masses are explained by the origin of bourgeois society rather than by the nature of capitalism itself and are said to be a thing of the distant past) and the theory of a “single industrial society.”
Contemporary bourgeois historiography is characterized by the topicality of its problems, by the marked increase in the attention devoted to modern and contemporary history. There is a growing body of literature on the workers’ movement. Professional historians are now actively engaged in studying the workers’ movement, and special publications, scholarly societies, and research institutes have appeared. Many works have been published on the history of Marxism, Leninism, and the Communist and workers’ parties that give a distorted picture of the development of the international workers’ movement. Reformist theories have been widely disseminated. A significant number of works are imbued with an anticommunist spirit whether in a concealed or more open form. The principal trends in the falsification of history by numerous “Sovietologists” and “Krem-linologists” include “proving” the obsolescence of Marxism and the accidental character of the October revolution, opposing Marxism to Leninism, asserting the absence of preconditions for a proletarian revolution in the West, depicting the international communist movement as the “tool of Moscow,” falsifying the processes of the formation of the world socialist system and of industrialization and collectivization in the USSR, and distorting the history of the Great Patriotic War (1941–45).
During the last few decades some bourgeois historians have been compelled to once again acknowledge the unity of the world-historical process, a result of the powerful upsurge of the national liberation movement and the appearance of a great number of new sovereign states. Despite this, “Europocentrism” and the theory of the separate development of different regions according to closed “cultural” spheres were by no means completely rejected by the leading trends of bourgeois historiography. In work on corresponding problems ultraleftist, Maoist tendencies have appeared, essentially coalescing with the most reactionary currents in imperialist historiography.
Several changes have occurred in the development of bourgeois historiography in various countries in the postwar years. The historiography of the USA has come to the fore, working on problems not only of American history but also of all periods of world history and setting the tone in many fields of historical research. At the same time, symptoms of a crisis are more apparent than ever in American historiography, manifested especially in theoretical works on history. The formerly influential economic school is disappearing, being replaced by schools still further removed from the scientific approach to history. The “neoliberal” school represented by A. M. Schlesinger, Jr. and R. Hofstadter rejects analysis of the socioeconomic contradictions in American society, glorifies bourgeois reformers, and presents American capitalism as a dynamic system that adapts its structure to the needs of social development without class struggle or social upheaval. Representatives of the “neoconser-vative” school (R. Brown, D. Boorstin) go even further in this direction, denying the lawlike regularity and inevitability of the War of Independence in North America (1775–83) and of the Civil War (1861–65) and viewing these turning points in American history as the result of mistakes of the revolutionaries. A crudely apologetic “business school” has emerged, openly glorifying the USA’s capitalist elite and its actions. Some historians of foreign policy and international relations have degenerated into champions of anti-Sovietism and anticommunism and bards of “American world hegemony.”
French historiography has assumed a more prominent position in the postwar period. Its characteristic features include a further development of economic and social history, represented by E. Labrousse, which continues to be influenced by Marxist methodology.
In Great Britain there is a sharp conflict between bourgeois and Marxist historiography on the central problems of national history, including the 17th-century English bourgeois revolution, the industrial revolution, foreign and colonial policies, the workers’ movement, the question of the influence of the development of capitalism on the condition of the working class, and the fate of the British empire.
In postwar West German historiography since the mid-1950’s, the “pseudoliberal” school led by H. Rothfels has occupied the leading position, having replaced G. Ritter’s group, which had held undivided sway in the first postwar decade and which in many respects upheld the traditions of the discredited Prussian-German reactionary historiography.
Historiography in countries emancipating themselves from colonial and semicolonial dependence. An important phenomenon in contemporary historiography is the emergence of national historiography in countries emancipating themselves from colonial and semicolonial dependence and embarking on the path of independent development. In these countries historiography long had a feudal character; on the whole, the predominant type of historical work was the chronicle, and there was an absence of generalization and of contemporary methods of scientific criticism. The genesis of bourgeois historiography in these countries was closely associated with the formation of nations (natsiia, nation in the historical sense) and nationalities, the growth of national self-consciousness, and the search for the roots of historical traditions that could be opposed to the influence of the colonizers’ ideology. The formation of a national historiography was inseparable from the work of educators. Thus, in India as early as the beginning of the 19th century Rammohun Roy, one of the first figures in modern Indian historiography, began to study the history of his country’s culture and religion. In China, K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao undertook a reexamination of Confucianist texts, which they attempted to use in explaining the need for progressive change. Butrus-al-Bustani, Rifaa at-Tachtawi, and J. Zaydan initiated the development of contemporary historiography in the Arab countries. Agha Khan Kermani and Malkom Khan pioneered in Iran and José Rizal in the Philippines. Historiography in the Oriental countries was strongly influenced by West European historiography.
Since the liberation of the Oriental countries from colonial rule, their historiography has reflected efforts to reinterpret colonial history and to reevaluate events in their own history. A closer connection between anticolonialist ideology and interest in national history may be noted. For example, the historiography of India and Pakistan has interpreted the Indian Revolt of 1857–59 as a popular, progressive uprising—in contrast to Western bourgeois historiography, which has considered it a military rebellion. Prominent historical figures, such as Jugurtha in Algeria, Chaka and Dingaan in South Africa, Samory Touré in West Africa, and M. Sabay in the Philippines, are regarded as heroes of the liberation movement in national historiography.
Study of antiquity and of the Middle Ages continues to occupy an important place in the historiography of these countries, with special attention being given to problems relevant to the present. Eras of past greatness are contrasted with the period of colonial oppression.
The historiography of contemporary African states south of the Sahara seeks to demonstrate the existence of an indigenous culture among the peoples of these countries long before the arrival of Europeans and attempts to purify the history of the African peoples of the falsifications put forward by some European bourgeois racist historians.
National historiography stresses the study of the liberation movement in modern and contemporary times, the national liberation revolutions, and the present struggle against imperialism. The works of prominent figures of the national liberation movement, including J. Nehru of India, Kemal Atatürk of Turkey, Sékou Touré of Guinea, and J. Kenyatta of Kenya, have exerted a great influence on the development of national historiography.
In the young national historical schools of Asia, Africa, and Latin America interest in purely political history is yielding to broader subject matter, particularly to cultural and socioeconomic history. There is growing specialization not only by periods but also by subjects and problems within these periods.
Nationalistic anti-imperialist historiography in Asia, Africa, and Latin America sometimes argues against bourgeois Europo-centrism by exaggerating the role of “its” continent and “its” country in world history, by overestimating the level of its development in various periods, and by idealizing figures of the past. Thus, proponents of so-called Asiacentrism assert that Asian countries have played the dominant role in world history. Supporters of the theory of African exclusiveness attempt to prove that Africa is developing along a special path differing from that of other continents. Marxist scholars in Asia, Africa, and Latin America resolutely struggle against both an exaggeration of the role of European peoples in world history and an overstatement of the role of the peoples of any part of the world; they support the objective portrayal of the specific contribution of each nation to the world-historical process. The Marxist historical science of the socialist countries significantly influences the historiography of Asian, African, and Latin American countries.
In the postwar years the historians of various young independent states have been joining together to study the history of selected regions or broad problems; works of this nature have been written under the auspices of UNESCO. Universities and scholarly institutions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are becoming important centers for the study of national history and the training of historians.
Marxist-Leninist historiography has six principal aspects.
(1) It explains the social basis of historical knowledge at each stage of its development, determines the social functions of historical knowledge in different epochs and the means by which these functions were carried out, and stresses the necessity of studying historical conceptions in organic connection with the social and political life of the period in which these conceptions were developed. This aspect of research enables an interrelationship to be established between the science of history and the present. In examining this interrelationship, historiography deals with the most important source of the party-mindedness (partiinost’) of historical knowledge and establishes the fact that the results of historical studies depend on the historian’s social views.
(2) Marxist-Leninist historiography studies the theoretical and methodological principles inherent in every school of historical thought, requiring the discovery of the connections between historical science and philosophy, sociology, political economy, theories of state and law, and theoretical natural science. The study of theoretical and methodological principles cannot, however, be reduced to an analysis of all the general theoretical statements of historians of a particular school but presupposes an analysis of the application to historical research of theoretical and methodological tenets.
(3) Marxist-Leninist historiography analyzes the source-study basis of historical work, the nature of the use of sources, and specific research methods. This aspect of the study of historiography permits elucidation of the unique characteristics of various schools’ research methods, evaluation of each school’s place in the ascertaining and systematizing of historical facts, and explanation of the interrelationship between methodology and techniques of historical research.
(4) Marxist-Leninist historiography analyzes the problems of historical research and their broadening scope as the most important manifestation of the progress of historical knowledge and as the manifestation of the socioeconomic and political requirements of a given historical epoch.
(5) Marxist-Leninist historiography investigates the interpretations of various schools of historical thought. Such analysis permits the tracing of the process whereby obsolete historical interpretations are overcome; it also permits explanation of the factor of continuity in the development of the science of history and the use, under new conditions, of the objectively true findings of earlier periods of the development of historical science. Thus the disagreements of representatives of different schools over historical questions that are of immediate relevance for a given period may be more concretely depicted.
(6) Marxist-Leninist historiography studies the organization and practice of historical research, including scholarly institutions and archives, the training of historians, publishing, and the use and propagation of historical views.
The various aspects of historiographic research are closely interconnected. Only through a comprehensive study of historiographic material is it possible to scientifically determine both the main paths of the history of historical science as a whole and particular important phenomena in this history. Such comprehensive study also enables historical knowledge to be used for working out problems that are relevant to the present study of history. The contemporary study of historiographic problems requires that the scholar possess a high level of general historical competence, good knowledge of historical material, and a thorough mastery of Marxist-Leninist theory, permitting him to creatively apply the categories of dialectical and historical materialism to analysis of historiographic phenomena and processes without which a consistently scientific understanding of the history of historical science is inconceivable.
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A. I. DANILOV (history of historical science up to the second half of the 19th century; historiograpy as a scientific discipline), G. DMITRIEVA (historiography in the USSR), A. D. KOLPAKOV (historiography from the second half of the 19th century to 1917; historiography of countries of Europe and America since 1917), and V. A. TIURIN, L. R. GORDON-POLONSKAIA, N. A. KUZNETSOVA, and A. S. TVERITINOVA (historiography in countries emancipating themselves from colonial and semicolonial dependence)