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“Combating bourgeois pseudoscience”: a campaign for national priorities in science and technology and Soviet higher education institutions

Studying the history of science and engineering is an important component of modern higher education, which is recognized by both the professional community and the authorities. This makes relevant a retrospective analysis of the teaching experience of this discipline, which nowadays can contribute to its detailed study. One of the key issues in this context is the influence of establishment and ideologization in the Soviet period. In particular, campaign aimed at combating kowtowing to Western science which was launched in the late Stalin period to fight for national priorities in science and technology is meant. This study relies on a number of sources, at the core of which there are published legislative documents, publicism, as well as materials from meetings of party organizations and party committees of a number of Leningrad universities deposited in the Central State Archive of Historical and Political Documents of St. Petersburg. Considering the course of the campaign and its consequences for higher education, the author came to the conclusion that even a formal adherence to the requirements set for the teaching community and students meant significant changes in scientific and academic work. Textbooks and course programs were revised, the scientific work of teachers was subject to strict regulation, and they themselves could be under fire of severe criticism and condemnation. Thus, the program led to the fact that, the correct idea of standing up for national achievements in this field and preserving the memory of the greatest representatives of Russian scientific community was often replaced by scientific revisionism. It clearly demonstrated not only danger, but also that aggressive state intervention and the ideologization of the history of science and technology were fighting a losing battle.

Key words: history of education, history of science and technology, combating cosmopolitanism, Kalinin Polytechnic Institute, Leningrad State University

For Reference: Sidorchuk, I. V. (2020). “Combating bourgeois pseudoscience”: a campaign for national priorities in science and technology and Soviet higher education institutions. Perspektivy nauki i obrazovania – Perspectives of Science and Education, 43 (1), 354-365. doi: 10.32744/pse.2020.1.25

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Information about the author:

Ilya V. Sidorchuk (Russia, Saint-Petersburg) - PhD in Historical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. St. Petersburg State University. E-mail: i.sidorchuk@spbu.ru. ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9760-2443

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