Youth and Local History: Historical Experience and Growth Points
© Alexandr A. Gutsalov
Cand. Sci. (History of Philosophy), Leading Researcher,
Department for Heritage Studies and Expert Activities, Southern Branch,
Russian Research Institute for Cultural and Natural Heritage,
Krasnodar, Russian Federation
Аbstract: The article comprehends the historical experience of local history and young people’s involvement in local history activities in order to identify the prospects of its development and growth points. The main emphasis is made on the study of the practice of Southern Russia’s regions. Local history was conceptually designed in Russia in the 18th–19th centuries. It was designated by various terms: local studies, fatherland studies, national science, motherland studies. The leading actors of local history studies were academic institutions and public research organizations that were massively being established in the 19th century. Their initiatives objectively contributed to the development of traveling, to the engagement of representatives of various professional groups and youth in research, to the introduction of local history subjects into curricula. Public associations were the cells of the civil society formed in the Russian Empire and contributed to the formation of the all-Russia’s and local identities. The activities of local history organizations in provinces was of particular importance. Southern Russia’s associations such as the Society for the Study of the Kuban Region, the Caucasus Mountain Society, the Stavropol Society for the Study of the North-Caucasian Region, the Terek Society for the Protection and Preservation of Monuments were major regional distribution centers for the scientific knowledge that formed the communication space for the intelligentsia. Experience in the development of local history in pre-revolutionary Russia was in demand later. Specialized state institutions in the South and in other regions were established in the 1920s, the so-called “golden decade of local history”. Along with them, the activities of public organizations continued. The multi-ethnic nature of the territory led to the creation of national research institutions, associations and societies. Specialized regional editions (Byulleten’ Severo-Kavkazskogo byuro kraevedeniya [Bulletin of the North Caucasian Local History Bureau], etc.) paid special attention to involving youth and students in local history activities. The conflict between the diversity of local history topics and interpretations and the ideological strategy of the state to unify the life of society manifested itself in the 1920s. The dissolution of amateur local history associations in the early 1930s marked the total subordination of local history initiatives to the state. The activation of the local history movement in the post-Soviet period took place against the background of the aggravation of interethnic relations and the weakening of the role of the state. Local history studies, which were conducted outside the context of Russian history, provoked the mythologization of images of the past, the growth of separatist sentiments in society, especially among young people. The positive experience of local history, which was formed in recent years, combines the reasonable participation of the state and its institutions with the development of public initiatives. As an example, the article discusses the activity of the historical and geographical society Dzurdzuki (Republic of Ingushetia). The urgent tasks of identifying forgotten names and artifacts, issues related to the return to the modern cultural discourse of the memory of the events of national history make the development of literary, scientific, technical, archaeological, historical, ethno-cultural local history relevant. Local history as an important component of patriotic education of young people is directly connected with the solution of topical socioeconomic and cultural problems, with the development of domestic tourism, with the protection of historical and cultural monuments, as well as with cultural branding of territories.
Keywords: local history, homeland studies, historical experience, local practices, youth, South of Russia, research initiatives.
Article information: Received on September 9, 2019, signed by the print, volume 2 / 2019 on September 26, 2019, published on September 30, 2019
Full bibliographic reference to the article: Gutsalov, A. A. (2019) Youth and Local History: Historical Experience and Growth Points. Nasledie vekov – Heritage of Centuries. 3. pp. 49–61. [Online] Available from: http://heritage-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019_3_Gutsalov.pdf (Accessed: dd.mm.yyyy). (In Russian).