Advanced Courses for Women
Advanced Courses for Women
institutions of higher learning for women in prerevolutionary Russia. These institutions arose under the influence of the revolutionary democratic movement in the 1860’s. The first advanced courses for women, the Alarchin in St. Petersburg and the Lubianka in Moscow, were opened with the government’s permission in 1869. One of the stages in the struggle for a women’s university was the organization in St. Petersburg in 1870 of systematic public lectures for men and women. These lectures were called Vladimir courses, after the Vladimir School where they were held. Surveillance was established over the advanced courses for women.
In 1872 advanced medical courses for women were begun in affiliation with the Medical and Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg, and in Moscow they were initiated under the direction of Professor V. I. Ger’e of Moscow University. The advanced courses for women which were begun in 1876 in Kazan and in 1878 in Kiev each had two departments, one in physics and mathematics and one in history and philology. In 1878 in St. Petersburg a circle of progressive members of the intelligentsia, led by the scholar and public figure A. K. Beketov, established the Bestuzhev Advanced Courses for Women named after K. N. Bestuzhev-Riumin, a professor of Russian history, who was the official founder of the courses and their director from 1878 to 1882.
After the suppression of the revolutionary democratic movement of the 1870’s, the tsarist government in 1881 decided to terminate the advanced courses for women. In 1886, by order of the Ministry of Education, admissions to the courses were discontinued. The revival of such courses was associated with the revolutionary movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Several advanced courses for women were reestablished in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and new ones were initiated, but with a number of restrictions. In the years 1905-16, advanced courses for women were established in Odessa, Kharkov, Kiev, Warsaw, Dorpat (Tartu), Kazan, Tbilisi, Novocherkassk, and Tomsk. The government did not finance these courses, and they were supported by charitable contributions and tuition payments. Graduates of these courses received the right to teach in girls’ secondary schools and in the lower classes of boys’ secondary schools. Advanced courses for women played a significant role in the development of education for women in Russia, particularly the Ger’e and Bestuzhev Advanced Courses for Women. The Bestuzhev Advanced Courses for Women were in essence the first women’s university in Russia.
Many women who were active in the revolutionary movement studied in advanced courses for women—for example, N. K. Krupskaia, A. I. Elizarova-Ul’ianova, P. F. Kudeli, K. N. Samoilova, L. A. Fotieva, and N. Blagoeva, one of the organizers of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Many women students participated in the Narodnik (Populist) movement and in the first Marxist circles.
After the Great October Socialist Revolution, advanced courses for women as a special type of institution of higher learning ceased to exist.
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Mizhuev, P. G. Zhenskii vopros in zhenskoe dvizhenie. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Kudriavtseva, A. A., and E. M. Tsvetaeva. “Vysshie zhenskie Golitsynskie sel’skokhoziaistvennye kursy.” Vestnik vysshei shkoly, 1958, no. 10.
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