On the Issue of „Western Russia“: Imperial Memory and History Teaching Cover Image

„Vakarų Rusijos“ sampratos klausimu: imperinė atmintis ir istorijos mokymas
On the Issue of „Western Russia“: Imperial Memory and History Teaching

Author(s): Ramūnas Trimakas
Subject(s): History
Published by: Lietuvos edukologijos universitetas
Keywords: transformation of the imperial historiography; post-colonial studies; history of Western Russia.

Summary/Abstract: Representation of historical memory and history didactics remains a poorly investigated area in Lithuania in the context of post-colonial studies. The main source and impetus to write this article was a history textbook “History of Western Russia. Kaliningrad District”, prepared by a group of authors and edited by Andrej Klemeshev, Rector of Immanuel Kant Russian State University. This textbook is addressed to 6–7, 8–9 and 10–11 forms. Each part consists of Student’s book, Teacher’s book and Workbook (rus. paбoчaя тeтpaдь). As the first level of this textbook was already discussed in the journal “History”, the aim of this article is to throw some light on the parts which deal with 8–9 and 10–11 forms. The article mainly deals with the way how imperial memory is presented in textbooks for secondary schools. The objective of the study is to explain the usage of the concept “Western Russia” and clarify it in the context of the concept “western borders of the empire”. This way we aim to provoke discussions about this poorly investigated history studies sphere. Discussion of the present-day Russia’s historiographic landmarks and history teaching tendencies inevitably involves the issue of the imperial heritage (in the widest sense). In recent years, one of the most important questions being discussed in the Russian federation is Russia’srelationship with the so-called ‘borderline countries” (rus. oкpauны). Contrary to academic discussions in the West where, during the last decade, the focus is on post-colonial studies, researches of Russian scientists / historians tend to follow the trend which conditionally could be called “nostalgia for the Empire”. Actualization of the topic of the imperial heritage evoked contradictory evaluation in a present-day Russia’s intellectual tradition. On the one hand, Western imperialism and colonialism, especially their destructive aspects, remain a dominant topic in Russia’s historiography. On the other hand, Russia’s imperial past and experience are estimated positively because this issue remains politically sensitive. The topics of Russian imperialism and colonialism remain beyond the boundaries of historical memory while the focus shifts towards the topics such as “the expansion of Russian lands” or “unselfish aid to the borderlands of empire”. However, in recent years a new tendency became prominent, i. e. to view and study imperial traditions as a positive phenomenon. Consequently, this leads to a conclusion that the revised model of Russian imperial historiography and didactics found its place in contemporary Russia. Historical narrative “Russia versus West”, which had gone into oblivion for a short spell of time in the last decade of the 20th century, is alive again...

  • Issue Year: 74/2009
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 51-62
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: Lithuanian