Stalinist Science

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Some scholars have viewed the Soviet state and science as two monolithic entities—with bureaucrats as oppressors, and scientists as defenders of intellectual autonomy. Based on previously unknown documents from the archives of state and Communist Party agencies and of numerous scientific institutions, Stalinist Science shows that this picture is oversimplified. Even the reinstated Science Department within the Central Committee was staffed by a leading geneticist and others sympathetic to conventional science. In...

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Overview

Some scholars have viewed the Soviet state and science as two monolithic entities—with bureaucrats as oppressors, and scientists as defenders of intellectual autonomy. Based on previously unknown documents from the archives of state and Communist Party agencies and of numerous scientific institutions, Stalinist Science shows that this picture is oversimplified. Even the reinstated Science Department within the Central Committee was staffed by a leading geneticist and others sympathetic to conventional science. In fact, a symbiosis of state bureaucrats and scientists established a much more terrifying system of control over the scientific community than any critic of Soviet totalitarianism had feared. Some scientists, on the other hand, developed more elaborate devices to avoid and exploit this control system than any advocate of academic freedom could have reasonably hoped.

Nikolai Krementsov argues that the model of Stalinist science, already taking hold during the thirties, was reversed by the need for inter-Allied cooperation during World War II. Science, as a tool for winning the war and as a diplomatic and propaganda instrument, began to enjoy higher status, better funding, and relative autonomy. Even the reinstated Science Department within the Central Committee was staffed by a leading geneticist and others sympathetic to conventional science. However, the onset of the Cold War led to a campaign for eliminating such servility to the West. Then the Western links that had benefited genetics and other sciences during the war and through 1946 became a liability, and were used by Lysenko and others to turn back to the repressive past and to delegitimate whole research directions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a monumental study on the interrelationship between scientists and the party-state apparatus in the Stalin era. Krementsov should be commended for this inventive and profoundly insightful book."—The Russian Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691028774
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 11/25/1996
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Table of Contents

LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES ix
PREFACE xi
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS xv
INTRODUCTION 3
PART I THE MAKING OF STALINIST SCIENCE 11
CHAPTER 1 Russian Science in Transition, 1890-1929 13
Science in the Russian Empire, 1890-1917 13
Russian Science and the Bolsheviks, 1917-1929 16
CHAPTER 2 The Stalinization of Russian Science, 1929-1939 31
The Control Apparatus 32
The Mobilization of Science 36
The Politicization of Professional Culture 45
CHAPTER 3 Stalinist Science in Action: The Case of Genetics 54
Genetics as a Stalinist Science 55
Scientists and the Party 61
Let Philosophy Judge 71
Principles of Operation 80
KEY EVENTS, 1917-1939 84
PART II STALINIST SCIENCE IN THE 1940S 93
CHAPTER 4 World War II and the Sweet Fruits of Victory 95
War and the Scientific Community 96
Genetics: The Home Front 105
A "Second Front" 115
CHAPTER 5 On the Threshold of the Cold War, 1946-1947129
The Kliueva-Roskin Affair 131
The Zhebrak Affair 143
For Soviet Creative Darwinism 149
CHAPTER 6 The Fateful Year: 1948 158
Lysenko and Stalin 159
Ten Words That Shook the World 169
For the Complete Domination of Michurinist Biology 174
Soviet Science versus Western Science 179
KEY EVENTS, 1941-1953 184
PART III THE CONSOLIDATION OF STALINIST SCIENCE 191
CHAPTER 7 Talking the Talk: Ritual and Rhetoric 193
The Rites of Autumn 194
"Politically Correct" Science 215
The Dialectics of Symbiosis 225
CHAPTER 8 Walking the Walk: Education versus Research 227
Education: The Ways of Bureaucracy 228
Research: The Games Scientists Played 239
Words and Deeds 249
CHAPTER 9 The Realities of Stalinist Science: Careerism and Institutional Rivalry 254
Roles, Careers, and Institutions 255
Playing with Pavlov 260
Playing with the Atom 275
Stalinist Science: The General and the Particular 280
CONCLUSION 287
APPENDIX A Stalinist Scientific "Newspeak": A Glossary 293
APPENDIX B Key Figures 300
NOTES 307
NAME INDEX 359
SUBJECT INDEX 365
FIGURES AND TABLES

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