The Ural Archaeographic Expedition and the Study оf Ural spiritual Culture History
The material presented in the article of the head research fellow of the Institute of History (Russian Academy of Sciences) R. G. Pikhoya does not comply with the traditional academic genres. We can define it as a memoratum, i. e. an account of events based on the writer’s personal memories accompanied by reflection as is typical of national intellectual culture. Science can be unpredictable in the course of its evolution that depends on a number of arbitrary reasons, colliding destinies, people’s characters, their perseverance, assertiveness or a search for a compromise. Everyone involved in the process has a clear idea of the role of human participation, meaning of an unexpected meeting, importance of an expressed idea or concealed resistance. It is extremely difficult to reveal such factors and that is why contemporary scholars rarely deal with it or turn it into a pursuit of the unattainable. This explains why R. G. Pikhoya’s written story can be interesting: it draws a consecutive range of regularities and oddities of the establishment of archaeography as a branch of science in the Ural State University, complexities of relationships in the academic community, psychology and behaviour of academic administration and the community of specialists as a basis for the development of the humanities in the last third of the 20th century. The author remembers his associates and explains the meaning of the archaeographic search for the development of various historical and culture studies in the Ural University. In his memoirs, he describes a unique phenomenon when support and enthusiasm from the research centres of Moscow, Novosibirsk and Saint Petersburg helped create a research sphere that resulted in a large multifold variety of research achievements. It is equally interesting to learn about the process of new specialists’ training: the effort made by the Ural University some time ago demonstrates how significant the result was in terms of the University’s authority and Russian academia as a whole. In this respect, we can characterize the memoirs as didactical as they illustrate the hindrances accompanying the development of new branches of science in a situation where one is confronted by the incompetence in the treatment of the academia in the higher educational establishments of present-day Russia. The memoirs also reflect the aspects that lead to a renewed interest in the scholarly study of religious culture and history. Sincere and emotional, the notes enable the reader to revive and relive the events of the late 20th century and reflect on the troubled ways of the humanities.
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