Volkova I. V. The Union of Thucydides with Herodotus: history course in pre-war soviet school and its impact on front generation (.pdf)


The paper examines how history was taught in pre-war Soviet school. After becoming regular in 1937, history teaching was aimed at political socialization and training of senior pupils to take part in the coming war battles. The author analyzes the methodological techniques used by teachers to meet those requirements of the Party and government, and the widespread use of methods of dramatic art especially. Teachers mastered some techniques of scenic activity, used excerpts from fiction books in the stories in the classroom, analyzed in detail genre paintings on historical themes, as well as they played short scenes and performed full-length historical performances. History teaching acquired some similarities with teaching acting, according to the Stanislavsky method, and the basic concepts of the course remained in emotional memory and bodily dispositions of students. Reproduction of conceptual apparatus in new contexts associated with modernity contributed to the strengthening of the results. Thus, the perception of concepts like slavery, medieval barbarism, crusades, conquests, enslavement, racism, uprising of the oppressed masses, revolution, social and national liberation, etc. was firmly connected with certain sensual and bodily feelings that generated reactions either of violent rejection or unconditional acceptance with the relevant motives and actions. The author states that the course of history formed a certain matrix of senses and responses of the graduates to mediate the perception of the fundamental (for the official ideology) values and concepts in extra-curricular contexts.


Key words: pre-war school, history teaching, methods of dramatic art, learning emotions, pinning reactions in physical memory.


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