The Landscape Concept in Russian Scientific Thought c1880s - 1991
Recent studies in the geography and sociology of scientific knowledge have suggested that the conceptual understandings and practices of science vary spatially across a range of scales.
This project aims to extend this literature by means of a detailed empirical study of the development of a key environmental science concept at a national scale. The project will argue that differences in scientific understanding arise not only from the particularities of disciplinary debate but also from distinctive traditions of scientific thought specific to different countries. Through a detailed study of Russia, the project will seek to show how the landscape concept was received, interpreted and contested in that particular country, whilst remaining sensitive to the many ways in which such understandings were influenced by events and ideas in the wider world.
- How did the Russian scientific concept of landscape arise and develop in the context of the general development of Russian and Soviet scientific thought?
- What was the nature and extent of foreign influences (e.g. the work of major German scholars such as A. Hettner [1859-1941] and S. Passarge [1867-1958]) on changing Russian understandings of landscape?
- What was the significance of the work of individual scientists such as V.V. Dokuchaev [1846-1903], L.S. Berg [1876-1950], K.D. Glinka [1867-1927], A.A. Grigor’ev [1883-1968] and others for the advancement of Russian landscape science?
- To what extent did changing institutional, educational and professional structures influence the development of landscape science during the late tsarist and Soviet periods?
- In what ways did the political priorities of the tsarist and Soviet regimes affect the evolution of landscape science in Russia?
- How did understandings of landscape vary across geography and cognate disciplinary areas (e.g. soil science and forest ecology)?
- How far were Russian understandings of landscape influenced by broader cultural, philosophical, and religious factors particular to Russia?
- What are the similarities and contrasts between Russian scientific understandings of landscape and those which have been characteristic of parts of Europe (Germany, France, UK) and North America?
In collaboration with Dr Denis Shaw (University of Birmingham)
AHRC Award No AH/G011028/1, September 2009 - March 2013