Дата публикации: 27 октября 2023
Автор(ы): A. S. BALEZIN
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: РАЗНОЕ
Источник: (c) Asia and Africa Today, No. 9,30 September 2014 Pages 2-4
Номер публикации: №1698414908

A. S. BALEZIN, (c)

E. A. Baratynsky. "Muza "


Doctor of Historical Sciences

Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences

September 1, 2014 marks the 85th anniversary of Apollon Borisovich Davidson, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Center for African Studies at the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Full Professor at the Higher School of Economics (HSE).

Apollon Borisovich is a recognized head of Russian historical African studies. Besides, he's an unusual person. And not only for its numerous (about 600, at least) scientific and popular scientific works, which are distinguished by a very special non-distorted figurative style.

To begin with, A. B. Davidson, like the Queen of England, has two birthdays: September 1 - official and August 23 - real. He was born in the Sverdlovsk region, where his father was in exile. The mother, Tamara Alexandrovna, was able to get horses and get to the nearest registry office only when the corresponding books for August were already closed. He survived the siege of Leningrad. At an early age, he began to earn his bread by working as a bookbinder. He was the best student in the History Department of LSU. For many years he was "banned from traveling". I personally communicated with Anna Akhmatova shortly before her death, and when they began to release her abroad-with Irina Odoevtseva, and not only with her, in the emigrant environment, when this was not at all welcome. He was almost the only non-partisan sector manager in all the humanities institutes of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The leader of Russian historical African studies, A. B. Davidson, has also been the head of our English studies department for many years. A world-renowned scientist, he was only recently elected as a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. And all his achievements in science-as a rule, not because of, but in spite of.

My childhood and youth were spent in Leningrad. He entered the History Department of Leningrad University in 1948, the year when the persecution of genetics began. At the University, Apollon Borisovich became interested in a subject that he devoted many decades of his life to studying - the history of South Africa. At the same time, he formed a long - term friendship with the Patriarch of Russian African Studies Dmitry Alekseevich Olderogge (1903-1987).

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He graduated from LSU in 1953 - in the midst of the "doctors ' case". Realizing that it would be difficult for him to get a job against the background of this "case", he wrote to various provincial public education bodies, offering his services as a history teacher. And I got rejected from everywhere. But by the time he graduated from university, the "doctors' case " had fallen apart. Apollon Borisovich brilliantly defended his diploma and received a recommendation to graduate school.

He entered graduate school at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Moscow, and since 1953 his life has been spent in the capital. At the Institute, his scientific adviser was Nikolai Alexandrovich Yerofeyev, with whom A. B. Davidson retained his friendship for many years.

His thesis and PhD thesis focused on the English conquest of Rhodesia. The second half of the dissertation was published in 1958 as a monograph - "Matabele and Mashona in the struggle against English colonization" (the publication of the first-on English colonial policy-was considered untimely at the time). This is the first book prepared in the newly created Africa Department of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, where Apollon Borisovich worked from 1956 to 1960.

In 1960, Apollon Borisovich, together with other employees of the Department, moved to the Institute of Africa. The first director of the Institute - Ivan Izosimovich Potekhin, who created it in 1959 (as previously the Department of Africa in Ivan), largely relied on the knowledge and hard work of Apollo Borisovich. In those years, a large part of its activities was occupied, as it was then called, "analytical materials for decision-making bodies." At the same time, he prepared his doctoral dissertation, which he defended in 1971 and published in the book "South Africa: The Emergence of Protest Forces. 1870 - 1924".

In the same years, Apollon Borisovich participated in the creation of the Department of African Studies of the IVEA (now ISAA) at Moscow State University, putting there (probably for the first time in the world) courses in new and recent history of Tropical and Southern Africa, historiography and source studies of African history. It was in IVYA that fate brought the author of these lines together (I wrote my first course work under the supervision of Apollon Borisovich in 1973). At the same time, he lectured at the Higher Diplomatic School, and then in closed educational institutions where Africans studied. In the leadership of the black majority government that came to power in South Africa in 1994, there were many of his former students.

In 1971, Apollon Borisovich created at the Institute of General History of the USSR Academy of Sciences his main brainchild, as I would like to believe, the African History Sector (now the Center for African Studies).

A. B. Davidson put forward several main principles of the sector's work, which he tried to adhere to later on:

- Avoid dealing with issues directly related to the political situation, such as "non-capitalist development path" or "socialist orientation" in Africa,

- to study the problems of the history of African peoples, relying on the widest possible range of primary sources,

- to form the structure of the sector from people who have received special training in African studies and, as a rule, speak African languages.

At the same time, the main research directions of the new research team were formed:

- sources and source studies of African history,

- Historiography of Africa,

- Russia and Africa,

- African colonial societies.

"Davidson's Sector "(as everyone calls it) under the leadership of Apollon Borisovich, he began his work with what every self-respecting historian should start with - with an "inventory" of the sources available to researchers on the history of Africa. In 1977, the book "Source Studies of African History" was published. This first collective work of the sector analyzed the sources available to domestic Africanists, especially in the most important African languages that have long had a written language-Swahili, Hausa and Amharic.

Two years later, and also under the editorship of A. B. Davidson, the collective monograph "Historical Science in Africa" was published. In those years, some countries of the continent already had national historical schools, while others were just beginning to develop their own historians, and before developing their own view of African history, it was important to understand the ideas and trends emerging on the African continent itself.

At the same time, A. B. Davidson co-authored with V. A. Makrushin two books on Russian - African pre-revolutionary relations, 1 which opened up a new area of research in the sector-Russia and Africa.

I have the honor of being the first full-time postgraduate student in the sector: I came there in the fall of 1975. Interesting topics were discussed, competent people came, and Apollo Borisovich invited them to speak with us. I still have a few" general " notebooks, as they were called at the time, thick with the inscription on the spines: "Sector. Actions". Unofficially, of course, the sector meetings were called actions.

Foreign African historians were invited, including those from Africa itself, as well as African political figures who happened to be in Moscow. In addition, the meetings of the sector included presentations by Africanists and not only Africanists who have visited Africa. Such trips were very rare at the time, and meeting people who had seen Africa firsthand helped the sector's employees to get closer to the continent's realities.

At the end of the 1970s, due to a change in the situation at the Institute, the life of the sector, which was developing so successfully and fruitfully, was interrupted. The people who then held the reins of the Institute in their hands organized an expanded meeting of the party bureau, at which the directions of scientific activity of the sector were declared incorrect.

Davidson and his staff disagreed with this assessment of their work and tried to object. But once they were delivered

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before the fact: the section of African history was transformed into the section of the history of colonialism, "completed" with employees from other departments of the Institute and received a new head. From this chief, the sector staff was surprised to learn, for example, that "there is no such science - African studies." Apollon Borisovich himself returned to the Institute of Oriental Studies, where he headed the Sector of National Problems.

In 1984. The African History Sector was restored, with almost the same structure and scientific program, under the leadership of its founder, Professor A. A. Shishkin. Davidson. Then the status of the sector gradually increased: the Department of African History, and later-the Center for African Studies.

Leading the work of the Center, Apollon Borisovich continued to produce his own books. Each was innovative, unlike anything that had been written on similar topics before. For example, books about Nikolai Gumilyov 2, about the difficult fates of Africanists in Moscow 3.

In the early 1990s, Apollon Borisovich received the opportunity to conduct research at Yale University in America (South African Research Program). And then-in the country, the" correspondence " study of which he devoted many decades - the Republic of South Africa. First it was the "South African Oxford" - Grahamstown University, and then-the equally prestigious Cape Town University, where he created the Center for Russian Studies.

A. B. Davidson directed the activities of this center in 1994-1998, collected a unique library on the history of South Africa, Russian-African relations and Russian emigration, and published the works of his and his colleagues.4

In 2010 - 2012, books by Apollon Borisovich, co-authored with I. I. Filatova, were published on the history of Russian-South African relations, also using unique materials.5 And in 2013, their book about Soviet-South African relations was published in South Africa, 6 which recently won the Media 24 award in this country - "for the best book of the year in the non-fiction category".

One of the cornerstones of the Davidson school - and this concept is already established in our science - is the love of working in archives and publishing archival documents. The results of this work, directed by Apollon Borisovich, were the two-volume edition " Russia and Africa. Documents and Materials "(1999), three volumes - " History of Africa in documents "(2005-2007), fundamental work - "History of Africa in biographies", volume with a total volume of about 95 pp. (2012), and, finally, the collection " Africa. History and Historians", published in early 2014 (for N. I. Petrov's review, see pp. 75-76).

Another area of work of the Davidson School is the painstaking interest in our African predecessors. He and his students wrote separate articles about them. 7 In 2003, a book was published - "The Formation of National African Studies. 1960s-early 1980s". It not only tells about the fates, sometimes tragic, of Soviet Africanists, but also analyzes the misconceptions of those years.

It is impossible to list all the main works of Apollon Borisovich and books published under his editorship in this article. Suffice it to say that the incomplete list of his publications, published for his 75th birthday, is a booklet with more than 60 pages. But I would like to mention one book in particular-autobiographical, published in 2008 under the iconic title - " I love you. Pages of Life". This is a subtle, I would say, touching story about the time in which Apollo Borisovich lived and lives, and about the people he met on his life's journey.

This book ends with the words: "Not to lose interest in life. And be able to enjoy it to the end. I'm certainly an optimist, because what's the point of being someone else?"

And Apollo Borisovich is full of plans and ideas. He teaches courses about the Silver Age and the culture of the Soviet period at the Higher School of Economics, which are very popular among students. He coined the term "Afroasiatization" and was the first to teach such a course at the HSE. The Center for African Studies has proposed a new project for the future - "Africa in the fate of Russia and Russia in the fate of Africa". It should be added that for more than 20 years A. B. Davidson has been a member of the editorial board of the journal "Asia and Africa Today"*.

Apollon Borisovich is a holder of the Order of Friendship and several medals. South Africa awarded him the Order of the Companions of Oliver Tambo. A decree signed by President George Zuma on April 27, 2012, reads: "Apollo Davidson was awarded for his extremely important contribution to the end of apartheid and the development of a post-apartheid, free and democratic South Africa."

It seems that officially his contribution to science is still underestimated. But he has something else that not every decorated person can boast of - the boundless love and respect of friends and colleagues.

* On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the magazine "Asia and Africa Today", A. B. Davidson published an article "Our Birth", in which he spoke in detail about the history of its creation (editor's note).8

Davidson A. B., Makrushin V. A. 1 Oblik dalnoi strany [The Image of a Distant country], Moscow, 1975; Imi: Zov dalnikh morei, Moscow, 1979.

Davidson A. B. 2 The Muse of Nikolai Gumilyov's Travels, Moscow, 1992; on. Nikolai Gumilev. Poet, traveler, warrior. Smolensk, 2001.

Davidson A. B., Ivanova L. V. 3 Moscow Afrika Publ., 2003.

4 См.; Russia in the Contemporary World. Proceedings of the First Symposium in South Africa at the Centre for Russian Studies, University of Cape Town. 17 - 19 August 1994. Cape Town; Phoenix Publishers, 1995; Apollon Davidson, Irina Filatova. The Russians and the Anglo-Boer War, 1899 - 1902. Cape Town, 1998.

Apollo Davidson, Irina Filatova. 5 Russia and South Africa: Three Centuries of Relations, Moscow, 2010; Irina Filatova, Apollon Davidson. Russia and South Africa: Building Bridges, Moscow, 2012.

Irina Filatova and Apollon Davidson. 6 The Hidden Thread. Russia and South Africa in the Soviet Era. Johannesburg-Cape Town, 2013.

7 See, for example, Vyatkina R. R. Imeni za pseudonym G. E. Gerngros / / Aziya i Afrika segodnya. 1993, N 7, с. 74 - 76 (Vyatkina R.R. 1993. Imya za psevdonimom G.E.Gerngros // Aziya i Afrika Segodnya. N 3) (in Russian)

8 See: Davidson A. Our birth / / Asia and Africa today. 2007, N 2. (Davidson A. 2007. Nashe rozhdenie // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 2) (in Russian)

Опубликовано на Порталусе 27 октября 2023 года

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