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Revolution of the Mind

Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929 OPEN ACCESS

Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Revolution of the Mind
    Book Description:

    Using archival materials never previously accessible to Western scholars, Michael David-Fox analyzes Bolshevik Party educational and research initiatives in higher learning after 1917. His fresh consideration of the era of the New Economic Policy and cultural politics after the Revolution explains how new communist institutions rose to parallel and rival conventional higher learning from the Academy of Sciences to the universities. Beginning with the creation of the first party school by intellectuals on the island of Capri in 1909, David-Fox argues, the Bolshevik cultural project was tightly linked to party educational institutions. He provides the first account of the early history and politics of three major institutions founded after the Revolution: Sverdlov Communist University, where the quest to transform everyday life gripped the student movement; the Institute of Red Professors, where the Bolsheviks sought to train a new communist intellectual or red specialist; and the Communist Academy, headquarters for a planned, collectivist, proletarian science.

    eISBN: 978-1-5017-0539-7
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-23)

    In the years after 1917 the institutions of party education and scholarship the new regime founded in the wake of the Revolution were dedicated to molding a new intelligentsia, refashioning education and science (nauka), building a new culture, transforming everyday life, and ultimately creating a New Man. These institutions, notably Sverdlov Communist University, the Institute of Red Professors, and the Communist Academy, rose to become the most prominent centers of Bolshevik training and thought in the 1920s.

    Bolshevik higher learning, as it embraced such quests, evolved along the contours of a particular—and particularly consequential—conjuncture in the Russian Revolution.¹...

  2. (pp. 24-82)

    From the first tentative innovations of the revolutionary underground to the rise of a unified system of party learning after 1920, the creation of educational institutions under Bolshevik Party auspices underwent a transformation of enormous scale and velocity—one that cuts to the heart of the relationship between Bolshevik missions and party institutions in revolutionary Russia. This historical vantage point affords sorne unexpected vistas.¹ The goals of party education, no matter how often overshadowed by utilitarian political concerns (the desperate need to train loyal party cadres), in a succession of widely differing periods consistently blended visions of long-range transformation with...

  3. (pp. 83-132)

    The urge not only to transform politics, economics and society but to remold the “whole of human life” struck the cultural critic Fülöp-Miller in 1926 as the distinguishing mark of the Bolshevik Revolution.¹ The insight was inspired by the juncture at which he wrote, for the 1920s witnessed the most intense debate perhaps in Russia’s history about human transformation. The culture-building and educational mission of the “transition period” turned the Revolution inward; the entrenchment of the new order spurred an attempt to mark the revolutionary in all spheres. The building of a new culture and a New Man, a defining...

  4. (pp. 133-191)

    The problem-ridden endeavor of creating red experts, communist scholars, and proletarian intellectuals was endowed with an institutional base with the founding of the Institute of Red Professors (IKP) in 1921. The immediate justification for establishing the Party’s only graduate-Ievel institution of higher learning was the need for university scholars in the Marxist social sciences. But during NEP IKP actually sent only 25 percent of its graduates into academic careers. As “one of the weapons of our party on the ideological front,” its mission quickly broadened to encompass the training of the cream of the new party intelligentsia and a political...

  5. (pp. 192-253)

    Bolshevik intellectuals presented their cause as a class struggle with bourgeois academia. Their primary field of battle in higher learning, however, was first and foremost institutional. When Evgenii B. Preobrazhenskii insisted in the Socialist Academy’s newly founded journal in 1922 that the academy “represents the highest scientific research institute of Marxist thought,” the academy leader was linking the Bolshevik declaration of war in organized intellectual life to his own institutional base. It has rarely been considered, but such assertions of primacy implied as many internal ramifications for the Bolsheviks as outward effects for the nonparty intellectual world.

    The Socialist Academy...

  6. (pp. 254-272)

    The upheaval that overtook all of higher learning in the Soviet Union in 1928-32, which in 1929 Stalin dubbed the Great Break (velikii perelom), swept away the dualistic order in organized intellectual life. Defunct was the NEP dynamic that opposed Bolshevik Party institutions and their plethora of revolutionary missions to half-altered old institutions, still dominated by nonparty groups but surviving under the auspices of the Soviet state. In part to overcome the awkward constraints and pervasive contradictions of that phase of the Revolution, in part because of them, a general assault on the nonparty intelligentsia was unleashed and a frenzy...

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.
Funding is provided by National Endowment for the Humanities