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Durham University

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Russian Studies

Staff in the Department of Russian

Publication details for Professor Andy Byford

2012 'Russia', Oxford Bibliographies Online: Childhood Studies

Author(s) from Durham


The multidisciplinary study of “childhood” as a distinct social, anthropological, and historical phenomenon is still in the early stages of development in Russia. Although such research is clearly on the rise, as yet no universally accepted Russian term for childhood studies as such exists. Some insight into current research activities in this field in Russia can be gleaned from the website of the research group specializing in the “culture of childhood” based at the Russian State University for the Humanitiesin Moscow. In the first decades of the 20th century, Russia/USSR had a strongly developed early form of multidisciplinary “child studies,” namely, the field of pedology (pedologiia), in which the lead was taken by child psychologists and theorists of education. This research was strongly supported by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s, but it was then eradicated on ideological grounds by Stalin in 1936. Pedology in Russia also included an interest in children as objects of social and anthropological study. An important strand within this field was the ethnography of childhood and a documentation of children’s folklore. These interests have seen some revival in recent years, too. However, over the past several decades, the remarkable expansion and diversification of the historiography of Russian/Soviet childhood, by both Western and Russian scholars, have been particularly significant. As a result, this bibliography is predominantly historiographic, although such a perspective is deeply intertwined with an anthropological and ethnographic exploration of Russian childhood. The bibliography is divided into two principal parts. The first part deals with the general historiography of childhood in Russia from the premodern era to the present; the second part focuses specifically on research devoted to children’s culture in a broad sense, including children’s folklore, literature, cinema, and the other arts. Both parts of the bibliography follow historical chronology, albeit in a loose way, given that their subsections are designed to emphasize key subareas of scholarly interest within this field.