On the Role of “Historical Phenomenology” in the Russian Historiography of the Late 20th — Early 21st Century

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2020, Vol. 6. № 3 (23)

On the Role of “Historical Phenomenology” in the Russian Historiography of the Late 20th — Early 21st Century

For citation: Shevchenko M. N. 2020. “On the Role of ‘Historical Phenomenology’ in the Russian Historiography of the Late 20th — Early 21st Century”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 6, no. 3 (23), pp. 154-167. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2020-6-3-154-167

About the author:

Maksim N. Shevchenko, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Senior Lecturer, Omsk Theological Seminary of the Omsk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate); maxsh1978@yandex.ru; ORCID: 0000-0002-9752-8332


This article follows the discussion that developed in the Russian historiography around the postulates formulated by the founders of “historical phenomenology”. The author attempts to identify the most controversial topics of discussion and to form an idea of its role in the development of theoretical and methodological principles of the Russian medieval studies in the early 21st century.

The study of the problem has required using historical-genetic and historical-comparative research methods. This article shows an extremely polarized attitude of the Russian researchers to the theoretical and methodological postulates of the “historical phenomenology”. The Russian historians have already addressed this problem, but their writings made no attempt to generalize the criticism or sum up the discussion. The new works, similarly to the previous ones, are written in the genre of criticism of the research program by A. L. Yurganov and A. V. Karavashkin and only multiply works of this nature.

The author believes that the time has come to define the results of the controversy, to highlight the key ideas criticized by researchers, and thus, to determine the most controversial topics of the theoretical and methodological legacy of the Russian medieval studies in the early 21st century. Based on the intensity of critical comments, this paper identifies three of the most controversial positions of “historical phenomenology”. Special attention is paid to the problem of “explaining” and “understanding” the research methods, the idea of the “supra-historical” unity and the principle of “non-referentiality” in research analysis.

This paper concludes that during the discussion, the Russian researchers clarified their views on the essence of a number of terms and concepts. The polemics initiated by A. L. Yurganov and A. V. Karavashkin allowed drawing clearer lines of demarcation both in the theory and practice of humanities research.


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