Russian Historical Science: Ten Years Later


R. Manekin

The Worldа Schoolа of УQuantitative HistoryФ.


ааааа Theа application of quantitative methods in historical researches in USA has a long and strong tradition. "Quantitative history" bibliography contains hundreds of works. Tens of researches are dedicated to studying of same phenomenon of quantitative history". American readers may learn a lot about specific using of quantitative methods and computers in historical researches, about the formation of "quantitative history" as a special discipline. The situation in Russia is more difficult.аа

These questions exactly are described in this article.

The process of intensive penetration of quantitative methods in history research practice began in 50-60s of XX century all over the world, but it was uneven in different countries.

аTheoretically in development of quantitative history three stages may be discerned: the late 50s-early 60s; middle 60s-middle 70s; middle 70s-till now. New tendency in historical worksа has developed spontaneously, under influence of sociology and economic sciences in the first place. The beginning of "quantitative history"а was marked by more and more using of known statistic methods in historical researches, such as measuring of means, specification of percent proportions, median calculation, formation of groups, correlation and regressive analysis application. In this period the using of quantitative methods by historians was not usually connected with formation of the uniform data, which is used in quantitative researches. The verification of correct application of either method didn't also take place in specific researches.

аThe investigators of quantitative methods were not interested much in methodological problems of "quantitative history" in 60-s. The analysis of these problems took up a central position in historiography of "quantitative history" in 70s-80s and especially in 90s.

аRoughly since middle 60s there was a splash of interest in theoretical problems of quantification among the world scientific community. The characteristic feature of the period of "quantitative history" making was a striving for presenting history as a type of social science that looks like positivism sociology.

аParticular attention was attracted by comparative analysis, representative exponent analysis of assemblage to be investigated. At the same time, pro fond interest in sociology problems prevented from learning the specificity of history cognition, from descending the cognitive problems, which are imposed by historians or sociologists. History investigations reflected the influence of econometric. There were often made attempts to present the socio-economic relationships as variable values, while the factors, which have created these values, were ignored.

аCurrently, "quantitative history" is characterized by bearing to find out in past social relationships the tendencies, which are real during a long time, to find out their structural connections, to consider activity of individuals, with their consciousness, within the limits of invariant, constant, socio-cultural situations. Attention given to historical time, that is going by in its own retime within the bounds of physical time, an acknowledgement of historical concepts specificity, the difference between concepts and theoretical knowledge in natural sciences, using the techniques, that appeared while making attempts in resolving the problems of artificial intellect, attention to achievements of modern theory of understanding and modern versions of psychoanalysis - all these issues are specific characters of modern stage of "quantitative history".

The organizing formation of new tendency began in the end of 60s by foundation of Commission on using quantitative methods and computers in historical researches, attached to the History section of Soviet Academy under the chairmanship of academician I. D. Kovalchenko. The first work, in which there were examined the problems, connected with using the quantitative methods in historical researches, appeared in our country in 1962. Since that time there were published more than 600 books and articles, dedicated to one or another aspect of application of quantitative methods in historical researches. Those scientists, who began their investigations in a new trend, are widely known and deservedly recognized. Here these scientists are: I. D. Kovalchenko, academician, secretary of History section of Academy, L. V. Milov, member of Academy, B. N. Mironov, doctor of history science and many others. Currently investigators groups and specialists-quantifications are working in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Baku and Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, Minsk, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Tomsk, Frunze, Tallin, Tbilisi. Only since 1980 till 1990 there were published 100 researches by scientists of our country. During the last 25 years there were defended nearly 100 theses (10 theses for a doctors degree). Science conferences take place regularly: 1984 - in Suzdal, 1986 - in Rostov, 1988, 1991 - in the Moscow region, 1989 - in Frunze, 1990 - in Dnepropetrovsk. Now one can see a strengthening of organizing activity of experts in this sphere of our country. Only in 1991 conferences took place in Uzhgorod, Minsk, Donetsk, Ekaterinburg, Lvov. Donetsk and Uzhgorod conferences in 1992 had a status of international conferences.

In the center of attention of our scientists there are questions of descriptive sources analysis, ethno-social, epigraphic materials. Special attention of our experts was attracted by the problems of creating the information banks, readable for machine, and methodological problems of "quantitative history".

An appearance of an every quarter bulletin of Commission on quantitative methods and computers application (History section of Russian Academy) illustrates the maturity of new tendency in history. There was realized an attempt of editing the magazine "Kleo", where the publication of methodological problems researches on quantitative investigations had been planned. The collections of scientific works are widely known. Implementation of lecture courses - "Quantitative methods and computers in historical investigations" and "Foundation of computers science and cybernetics", - in all universities of CIS, is a service of Russian quantifications school. The processes, that have taken place in the Former Soviet Union after august events in 1991, didnТt left aside members of quantification society. I think, that experts in USA, who are traditionally maintaining relations with specialists in Moscow, and Petersburg, do not clearly understand the essence of this process. Nevertheless, now days it is necessary to say about foundation of national and regional quantitative schools in the Former Soviet Union.

Since 1991 every year expertТs conferences have been kept in Minsk (Byelorussia). Not only Byelorussian specialists have taken part in them, but also specialists from other countries of CIS. There was founded a scientific research laboratory of Byelorussian history in Minsk University. It has become a co-coordinating center of expertsТ movement in this republic. Prof. Sidorov V. P., doctor Kohanovsky A. G., doctor Balikin Y. N., doctors Strikalev P. V., Yanchuk and Zelenkov N. I., are at the head of this laboratory. The laboratory mathematical methods and computers application historical researches successfully work in Azerbaijan under the lei ship of prof. I. R. Rafi-Zade.

A group of experts, utterly independent, assembled in Ekaterinburg Center on using the "quantitative methods and computers in historical researches (Ural section of Russian Academy; the head is prof. T. I. Slavko). This group has planned the creation of grand data bank of Ural and Siberian history.

Ukraine quantitative school is of real interest. Only during last few years two monographies, written by V. V. Podgaretsky, appeared in Dnepropetrovsk, several almanacs and article collections, written by experts, were edited Manekin R.V.

аIn a word, the decentralization of academically science in USSR has entailed the development of quantitative history as a special historical discipline in regions.




The appearance of "quantitative history" in USA was accompanied by a hard strive between the supporters of "analytic" and of "hermeneutic" approaches in conception of subject and methods of historical investigations. The starting point of "kliometry" was a conference in University of Pardue (1960), where R. Fogel appeared with lecture, well known now, about the results of studding railway profitability: the second half of XIX century. His book, dedicated to the theme, was published in 1964. It gives the conception of "new economic history" its merits and demerits. This book finds different responses all over the world. Since this time in USA annual kilometrical conferences are kept. They symbolize the beginning of new influence in historical researches. Kilometric society was founded at one of this conference in 1983. It gathered the partisans of "new economic history". They used quantitative methods, economic models and computers in socio-economic history researches. Now more than 400 scientists in USA, Canada and other countries are the members of Kilometric society. Every year the society calls together its members on scientific conferences and conducts a large-scaled International congress once 4 years. Since 1985 "Newletters of Kilometric society" magazine appears every quarter. It contains the information about participant's reports in Kilometric conferences, which are held all over the world. Here the present or finished kilometric projects, new publications, working out the data bases are described, interviews with competent American experts est.

аSocio-economic and political history can be related with the basic American "quantitative history" tendencies. These researches are well known in Russia (see: Quantitative methods in Soviet and American historiography. Materials of Soviet-American symposium in Baltimore, 1979, and in Tallinn, 1981; the editors are I. D. Kovalchenko and V. A. Tishkov; Moscow, 1983). The mathematics methods in historical investigations are taken as research instruments and this is the specific character of American historiography. Because of that methodological problems of "quantitative history" exceed the bounds of their investigations. Frequently the kilometrical works have an application value. However, that is not the general rule.

Absolutely independent and original school, which is related with лquantitative history╗, is a group of scientists that gathered around the well-known French magazine лAnnuales Economics. Societies. Civilisation" (so called "new history").

The concept of "new history" was theoretically argued in 30s in the works of M. Block, Lefevr, F. Brodel and others. After the 2 World War this tendency was worked out and became firmly established in the Section of economic and social science (YI Section) first of all, in Practice school of highest investigations under the leadership of F. Brodel. In 1975 the YI Section was transformed in Highest Investigations in Social Sciences School. Now F. Fure heads it. Some time later in the context of problems of "Annals", the association of experts "Histoire et informatique" (France) appeared. Economic history was at the center of attention of this association. A. Zisbert was its president. The specificity of French "new" and "total" history was a special attention to "subjective reality", humanТs problems, human consciousness, to correlation of individual and collective psychology and its influence on history process.

The main links in the series of investigations of "Annals" group are creating models, compare them with logically constructed series of information data and find out disagreements in models created earlier.

Members of "new historical school" managed to make a hold-up in the sphere of quantitative investigations methodology by formulating methodology of history investigations, that provides substantiation of hypothesis, choice of materials, substantiation of analysis methods, discerning the systems and subsystems of object to be analyzed, formulating the derived results and unsolved problems.

In (1986, in England, International association for History and Computing (└|╤) was founded. It gathered investigators that were using computers in history education and researches in different directions of history. G. F. Gene, eminent scientist, became a President of AHC. Association holds every year congresses and publishes every quarter magazine "History and Computing" in Oxford University Press publishing house since 1989. Magazine contains scientific articles and reports and also information materials on wide spectrum of application of modern information science in history investigations. From the methodological point of view, English "quantitative history" was under direct influence of "Annals" group and progressive American Kliometry.

Specialists of "new history school" (English variant of "quantitative history") are occupied with political, economical history, history of ideas, historical psychology, socio-intellectual history and numerous "geoids" of history and applied sociology (history of families, towns, criminality, education, childhood, social history of religion, medicine and so on).

In 1990 new association - European Association of Historical Econometric (EAHE) - was founded. It gathered European investigators working in the sphere of "quantitative economy history". The association appeared in the period, when the ╒ International Economic History Congress was held (Luven, Belgium). It plans an edition of bulletin, keeping conferences once a year. Representatives of Benelux, Eastern Europe, Scandinavian states and others are the members of Association. The founders of Association declared an aspiration for close collaboration with European Economy Association, Kliometric`s Society and International Economic History Association. All this is a grantee of active existence of this Association.

In 1986 within the limits of International Congresses of sciences the International Commission on application of quantitative methods in history - INTERQUANT - was created. Two presidents of INTERQUANT are academic I. D. Kovalchenko, soviet scientist, and American professor K. Jaraoush. German investigator V. Sherder became a general secretary of INTERQUANT. Official organ of Commission is an international every quarter magazine "Historical Social Research" - "Historische Sozialforshung" (HSR), where scientific articles as well as different informational materials are published. Association for History and Computing and one of the biggest, associations in Western Europe - QUANTUM (Association for quantification and methods in Historical and Social Research -Arbeitsgameinochaft fur quantifizierung auf Methoden in der historischsocial wissenschaffichen Forschung) bear a relation to edition of this magazine. The headquarters of QUANTUM is in the Center of socio-historical investigations, attached to Central archives of empirical social investigations of Cologne University. The associationТs purpose, as its founders have declared, is "the introduction of formal methods in socio-historical investigations". Association conducts annual school-seminars Quantworkshops - in different German towns. A few hundreds of people are the members of this association. They present not only German history school, but also schools of North Europe. Within the limits of QUANTUM the Center on socio-historical investigations -"Zeuturn fur Historische Sozialforschung" (ZHSF) - was organized. It saw it's objects in supporting socioЧhistorical researches in West Germany with the bank of machine-readable data, technics-methodological consultations of specialists in the sphere of mass sources application in socio-historical investigations. From the very first day QUANTUM published the informational collection "QUANTUM Information", collections of scientific works. General secretaries of QUANTUM are H. Best (director of Institute of social sciences in Bonn) and V. Sherder. In close collaboration with this organization a group of scientists-quantifications of Gettinhem works (Make Plank Institute, Germany). The head is ╠. Taller.

The representatives of "quantitative history" in other countries are working within the boundaries of national school issues. Italian experts, for example, specialized on economy history and cultural historical problems; in Latin America they interested in questions of political history. In New Zealand they investigate the economy and criminal history.

From our point of view the fact that in Hong Kong and other Eastern countries, with developed production of computers and computers technology, "quantitative history" hasn't developed properly, is paradoxical. In Japan the investigations of experts are under the great influence of American "quantitative history" school.

The evidence of influence of "quantitative history" in modern historiographical situation is the raise of activity of foreign and out quantitative kliometry associations, the heighten of their number.

For example, one of the most interesting international collections on "quantitative history" in 1990 was the Y Congress of International Association for History and Computing. It took place on 4-7th of September in Montpelier (France). G. F. Gene, A. Zisberg, K. Lariol (the president of Congress). The famous French scientist E. Le Rua Ladury and others took part in the work of the Congress. The following problems were discussed there: computer data base, expert systems, informatics and pedagogy, computer mapping and presentation of space data, computerized historical workstation, computers in socio-economic historical investigations, machine text analysis, history processes modeling. About 30 participants of Congress demonstrated their own programe support and results of machine analysis of history sources on their computers.

аAnnual conferences of AHC sections were held in 1990: the French section - in January (Versaille), the Italian section - in September (San Minato), the Portugal section - in Aprils (Brot University), Swish section - in October (Geneva), English section - in April (Dover-Hampton).

In Geneva, for example, at the conference "Histoire at informatique" specialists from Switzerland, France, and Germany discussed the problems of computers application in archives and museum studding, in working out the database, in realizing the historical sources editions.

The problems of working up and using of computer-aided training systems in education at the historical faculties were discussed at the conference "Computers and Humanity education" (Aprils, 1990, Saint-Andrews, Scotland).

In august 1990 in Belgium (Luven) the ╒ Congress on historical economy took place. Within it's limits the section "History and informatics" worked. Here, in the attention there were questions of database and information systems perfection in economy history, models creation of socio-economic processes of past, computerization of economy history education. It's interesting that among 12 basic lectures in this section 9 belonged to European experts. Strong interest was paid to a presentation of Historical workstation system, which was presented by ╠. Taller (the system had been realized on IBM/6000; it's characteristics: 8 MB of internal memory, 120 MB of data model, the size of bit map is 1280x1024).

On XIII International Congress on historical sciences (august, 1990, Madrid) the problems of creation of database in historical investigations, quantification in studding political history of social changes, criminality and repressions were in the center of attention. "Round-table" discussion on "History and computer science" took place. Here the role of database in history, archives and library, methodological approaches to correlation between "traditional" and "quantitative" history were talked over.

In September 1990 in Cologne an annual conference "QUANTUM-WORKSHOP-1990" was kept, where methodological questions on application of multi-dimension statistics analysis, computer methods of history-demography data analysis, problems of working up relational data base, possibilities of different statistic software packages for historical investigations were discussed.

In July 1991 in Denmark the European conferences of specialists in economic history, who are using mathematics methods, was held. On this meeting Newsletter of European Historical Economics Society was founded. Doctor Carl Persson (Copenhagen University) became the president ofа EHES.

In October 1991 the first bulletin appeared. It's edition became period Association for Computers and the History of art began to publish magazine "Computers and the History of art". The editor of magazine is professor William Vanghan (Department of History of Art-Birkbeck College, University of London).

In the same year Austrian and German scientists Ed three school-seminars on problems, connected with quantitative methods application in history investigations (these schools are kept annually).

аIn 1991 they took place in Gettinghem and Cologne Germany and Salzburg (Austria): Gottinhem Summer school - on 29th of June - 9th of august 1991, International Summer School "New methods in history", Salzburg - on 16th-25th of September, 1991, Cologne Conference, Uses of the computer in humanities and social sciences, Cologne University. The specific character of these conferences was the active participation of Russian scientists in it and of scientists of Eastern Europe. On 29th August-2th September, 1992 in Bologna the Yll-th International conference of "Association "History and Computing" was held. The following problems were discussed: historiography development: influence of commuters application; standardization of data in historical disciplines, data presentation and analysis history sources analysis (new possibilities in text analysis); modeling problems and so on.

Among all experts conferences that were held in 1991 I would like to mark out the international symposium on co-coordinating of investigations in sphere of history information in Western and Eastern Europe ("High Ч Tech History Workshop - East and West, Salzburg, 24-26th of January, 1992). The organizers of the symposium were the Association "History and Computing", Institute of Special History Investigations of Ludvig Bolzman (Salzburg, Vena), Maks Plank Institute of History (Gettinhem), History Institute in Salzburg University.

About 30 specialists on history computer science from Austria, Great Britain, Hungary, Holland, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, CIS, Germany, Czech and Slovakia took part in symposium activity.

The president of International Association "History and Computing" dr. Manfred Taller, headed with professor Gerhard Botz (Salzburg University) and dr. Gerhard Jaritz (Austrian Academy of Sciences, ╤crшme) the work of symposium session. Discussing the perspectives of further collaboration, participants of symposium came to mutual agreement about the necessity of creating in the national associations Eastern Europe They will become the parts of International Association "History and Computing" as collective members.

The direct consequence of agreements that were got in Salzburg was the foundation of CIS experts association at the conference in Minsk that became a collective member of "History and Computing". From ll-th till 24-th of October, 1992, the school-seminar "Historical Information: the European Model" worked at Moscow University of M. K. Lomonosov. It was led under patronage of International Association "History and Computing". Now days in Germany the edition of training manual on application of mathematics methods and computers in historical researches is preparing. In creating of this manual Russian experts took part. Manual is oriented on science ideology of European school of "quantitative history".

I'd like to say in conclusion a few words about perspectives of development of world school of "quantitative history". I'd like out two aspects of this problem: scientific and scientific-political aspects.

In scientific sphere I'd like to underline a few issues.

The development of computers technics, creation of portable, computers probably will hasten the investigators archives work. The creation of new systems of database must lead to minimum losses in transferring information from sources into computers memory. The improvement of analysis methods themselves undoubtedly will heighten the effectiveness of researches. New ethane in "quantitative history" development should be expected on the way of mutual influence of historical, special and subsidiary disciplines. Probably, the number of inter-discipline researches will be raised. In whole the share of historical quantitative investigations in general will increase. To forecast scientific political situation is more difficult. And this situation will predetermine the ideology of "quantitative history" in the end of XX- XXI early.

It's not a secret that scientists from the USA and the USSR marked the beginning of world лquantitative history╗ school.** It's not necessary to put the question whose school had the stronger influence on development of "quantitative history" in 60-s-90-s of XX century -the American Kliometry School or the school of I. D. Kovalchenko. Following dr. D. A. Levchik, I suppose that Kliometry in Britain, Israel, Benelux and other countries was in rearguard of American science ideology for a long time. In the same time future specialists from Eastern Europe and the former soviet republics got first skills in working with computers in Moscow. Creative potential of Russian experts shouldn't be underrated. Many of mathematics methods became the usual instruments in the arsenal of historians. After Manfred Taller became the president of Association "History and Computing", it should be expected that European "quantitative history" school would be the one of the most influential in the world. The processes that are taking place in academy space of the former USSR will have substantial influence on scientific political situation in the world.

National schools of experts in CIS, that are not very strong, are striving for integration in world association of Kliometrists. Moscow master-school, for example, has already become the champion of scientific ideology.





Ifа European experts associations are able to extend their activity also on republican and regional center of science in CTES it would be surely possible to say (if it would be taken into account the whole methodological arsenal of Russia and Europe and the thematic variety of quantification researches of European and CIS scientists) that the beginning of the XXI century would be tree period of supremacy of Europe-Asian quantification school in the "quantitative history" world school historiography.


* While I was preparing this article I used the materials of information bulletin of Commission on application the mathematics methods and computers in historical works (History section in Russian Academy of Sciences). I thank L.I. Borodinkin and K.V. Hvostovoy for assistance in writing this article

а**See earlier: lecture of R. Fogel - 1960, the first work of I. D. Kovalchenko - 1962.ааа

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