Travel report for research journey to Russia
During May 2002 I participated in the 9th Conference of Africanists; Africa in the Context of North-South Relations in Moscow, 21-23 May, 2002.
I gave a paper; The discussion about South Africa: An analysis of the research debate on apartheid, which can also be found in the Public Folder.
I also visited various research institutions in Russia in connection with the work on my book with the working title, The discussion about South Africa: An analysis of the research debate on apartheid with special focus on the paradigmatic dispute between liberal and radical historians.
The primary purpose of my journey was the discussions at the conference, but another aim was to verify sources and to gather additional material in preparation for the prolonged work with the utilisation of my research project at the Nordic Africa Institute: Historical Research and Higher Education in Southern Africa.
New works, periodicals, documents and records was drawn into the analysis through visits on selected institutions, centres and archives.
In Moscow a number of research environments, contacts and institutions can be found which opens opportunities to become acquainted with publications, working papers, theses and other materials, which are inaccessible in the Nordic Countries.
At the same time this travel enabled exchange of views face two face with centrally placed capacities upon the field of research.
The voyage also functioned as a follow-up of earlier travels to Russia.
The main tasks during the research stay consisted of:
Þ Conference participation.
Þ Source studies in relevant libraries, archives and education centres including collection of historiographical and bibliographical data.
Þ Talks and interviews with authors quoted and discussed in my book or in other words with participants in the history debate.
Þ Discussions with fellow researchers on their possible participation in my upcoming conference scheduled for august 2002.
Þ Extension and deepening of research contacts with the purpose to create relationships to research environments.
Research milieus, scholars and information centres that were visited:
Þ Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Þ M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Asian and African countries.
Þ Russian State Archives of Contemporary History (Federal'naia arkhivnaia sluzhba Rossii (Rosarkhiv)).
Þ Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (Arkhiv vneshnei politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii (AVP RF)).
Unstructured interviews with the following scholars:
Vladimir Shubin, Deputy Director Institute for African Studies, Moscow (also interviewed 1989).
Anatoli Gromyko, IAS, (also interviewed 1989).
Prof Alexei Vassiliev Director, Institute for African Studies.
Dr. Veronica Usachyova, Institute for African Studies.
Apollon Davidson, Professor, established the Center for African Studies at the Institute of Universal History and has been leading it since.
Greg Houston, South African Democratic Education Trust, Pretoria.
Phillip Eidelberg, University of South Africa, Pretoria.
Ian Liebenberg, Unit for African Studies, Centre for International Political Studies, University of Pretoria.
Paul-Henri Bischoff, Prof, Head, Department of Political and International Studies, Rhodes University.
During the interviews the following topics among others were discussed:
o The role there is to play for the history of ideas in the new South Africa.
o The significance of the radical historical tradition to recent historiographical developments.
o The importance of an active radical or post-radical history milieu to societal changes in South Africa.
o Aspects around the historiographical discussion, which lacks investigation.
o The historiographical dimension in the authors own work.
o General developments within African studies and history studies in Russia, South Africa and the Nordic countries.
Stockholm - Moscow 20/5 - 2002
Moscow – Stockholm 25/5 - 2002
Expenses was kept under the limits of the budget (see Travel Plan).
Some logistic problems. High priority speeches from Russian Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs and SA Africa Institute head. Publications from NAI distributed. Publications from IAS brought home.
For African Studies institutes in Russia like the host; the Africa institute under the Academy of Science, the transformation has not been good. They are less needed as when the Soviet Union was engaged heavily in Africa because of solidarity and superpower policy. It is however apparently the largest Africa institute in the world. They have 150 researchers but no money for publications, age of employed quite old, situated in big rather worn down palace-like building. Conference themes was widespread mirroring modern views on Africa.
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