The excursionism project and the study of literary places (1921-1924)

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The article charts the history of ‘excursionism’, a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of urban environments, which, in the early 1920s, briefly benefitted from Narkompros funding for the purposes of advancing a revolutionary new programme of education and research in the humanities and science. The main part of the article focuses on theories of urban spaces as cultural historical and literary complexes, which Ivan Grevs (1860-1941) and Nikolai Antsiferov (1889-1958), both trained in European mediaeval history, developed as one of the three principal axes of excursionism, alongside natural history and economics. By the mid-1920s, the excursionism project would be eclipsed by the rise of regional studies (kraevedenie). Yet, despite this, I argue that certain aspects of the methodology they pioneered and, in particular, Antsiferov’s literary approach to urban spaces remained relevant to the generation of cultural theorists and historians active in the post-Stalinist era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-235
JournalRevue des Etudes Slaves
Issue number1/2
Early online date31 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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