Libmonster ID: SE-359
Author(s) of the publication: N. I. PETROV


 Wherever fate throws us 
 And happiness wherever it might lead, 
 All the same we: the whole world is a foreign land for us; 
 Fatherland to us Tsarskoe Selo. 

A. S. Pushkin. October 19th

I read this book and envied its authors madly - and there are more than forty of them. They wrote about the place that became for them what Tsarskoe Selo was for the young Pushkin and his lyceum friends. However, this place is not in St. Petersburg, but in Moscow, and was called not a lyceum, but the Institute of Oriental Languages (IVYA at Moscow State University), and later - the Institute of Asian and African Countries (ISAA) of Moscow State University. And there was also a time difference-they were separated from Pushkin's Tsarskoye Selo by half a century, or even more. Everything else was exactly the same: the intoxicating spirit of youth, plans and dreams for the future, of course, happy and unique, the desire to serve their Fatherland and bring freedom to the rest of the world, especially Africa, to which they decided to devote their lives.

The next, fifth issue of the almanac "Under the sky of my Africa" (Moscow, ISAA MSU, 2010) is entirely devoted to African studies and Africanists who studied at different times in the IVYA/ISAA. They are graduates of a unique university, which gave them a unique profession-Africanist, and wrote this book-from the first to the last, 278 pages.

To be absolutely precise, the almanac is dedicated not to the scientific and educational community-ISAA, which even at one time they did not dare to call a faculty - they immediately called it an institute within the Moscow State University-but only to one of its departments - the Department of African Studies, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in September 2010. And all the authors of essays, notes, memoirs, essays included in the book, without exception, are graduates of this department. Their destinies were different: many became scientists, held responsible positions in government bodies, commercial structures, taught at universities, became journalists, editors, assistants, translators. But there is not a single one of them who does not remember their university, their department, and their teachers with gratitude and even reverence. And not only because social norms of behavior in an intelligent community oblige students to honor their mentors. But also because the teachers generously shared with the students their life experience, which many had oh, how difficult.

Immediately after the inevitable official section "Congratulations to the Hero of the day" for such a book (they were received from the State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation G. B. Karasin and famous scientists-directors of leading academic institutions of the country-A.M. Vasiliev, V. V. Vinogradov, A. O. Chubaryan and V. V. Naumkin), a small section follows - " About those who is not with us." These are four short essays about those who created not only the department, but also the post-war Russian school of African studies - the first head of the department, history teacher Nikolai Georgievich Kalinin, Swahili language teacher Natalia Veniaminovna Okhotina, the first African literature teacher Gera Ivanovna Potekhina, the first Hausa language teacher Yuri Konstantinovich Shcheglov.

Almost every one of them, before becoming known as a major scientist, went through the thorns of undeserved reproaches and accusations of all sorts of" sins "and deviations from the" correct line " characteristic of that period of development of the humanities of our science. The lush and beautiful tree of modern African studies did not grow on well-fertilized soil, but made its way through the stones of ignorance and underestimation of the actually new direction of our science.

However, one circumstance still favored this direction - the fact that the year of birth of the Department of African Studies - 1960-went down in history as the "Year of Africa", when various countries of the continent gained independence one after another. Interest in third world countries grew by leaps and bounds. Naturally, more and more specialists were needed who knew the languages, traditions and customs of these countries.

page 74

countries. In the same year, the Institute of Africa actually appeared, the decision to create which was made a year earlier.

Apollo Davidson, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Head of the Center for African Studies of the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, tells about the relatively little-known, earliest stage of the post-war formation of our African studies in detail and in the author's excellent journalistic language. It is hard to imagine, but in the 1940s and 50s, there was no African studies at all in Moscow's educational institutions, and in Leningrad it barely glimmered after almost all the scientists involved in the study of Africa were shot in 1934-1937. "Not because they studied Africa," notes A. Davidson, " but simply, as they say, fell under the hot hand." That was the time... Nevertheless, from the author's short but informative essay, it follows that our African studies had certain traditions that helped its actual revival during the "thaw"period.

But the years of oblivion of the sciences of the "Black Continent" still made themselves felt, and a good quarter of the authors of the almanac honestly admit that as schoolchildren, even as high school students, they had a vague idea of what African studies is. Even the headlines of the essays on this subject are quite frank: "How I accidentally became an Africanist" (A. S. Balezin), "An Unknown Star Shines" (V. V. Fedorov). But everyone admits that sooner or later they realized that fate gave them a unique opportunity to study and see with their own eyes unusual, unlike other countries and continents, led them to a profession as romantic as it opens up huge horizons of scientific research. And the title of the notes of I. I. Filatova, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Distinguished Professor at the University of Durban-Westville (South Africa) "How lucky I am..."many other authors of the almanac could have prefaced their works.

However, they were lucky not only to get an excellent specialty-African studies, but also to have teachers who used many informal, non-traditional techniques in their work with students, pursuing one goal - to instill a love of science, a taste for research, and an interest in Africa. Thus, a student of the first class of 1960, Candidate of Historical Sciences, first deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" O. I. Teterin in his essay with the unusual title "KISU HIKI KIZURI..." ("This beautiful knife...") recalls that the Swahili teacher N. V. Okhotina after the first year organized a training course for the students of the University. a trip of his student group to Leningrad to visit the Patriarch of Russian African Studies D. A. Olderogge, and then-a visit to the newly created Institute of Africa and a conversation with its director I. I. Potekhin. It was in 1960-1961. - I wonder if there are now university teachers who are able to apply such non-traditional pedagogical techniques?..

Although the almanac "Under the Sky of my Africa", strictly speaking, is not a phenomenon of science, but rather of journalism and memoirism, serious scientists-historians and political scientists-will find in it a lot of unique and useful information for researchers of African problems. Who, for example, among the specialists of "Somaliveda" can answer the question, who are Abdi Haji Gobdon, Caliph Nur Ali "Konof" or Said Osman Kenadid? But these are notable cultural and public figures of Somalia in the 70s and 80s.Their short but vivid portraits, which were given in his essay by G. L. Kapchits, Ph. D., a columnist for the Voice of Russia State Radio Company, are probably the only ones available to a Russian researcher.

Ethnographic observations of many authors of the almanac are also unique. Our Russian media in the late 70s and early 80s covered the civil war in Angola in great detail. We knew a lot about the People's Army of Angola, the MPLA party, and the assistance provided to this country by Cuban internationalists. But it was difficult for us in Russia to imagine a war zone, what Angolan villages look like, and in general this distant and exotic country - Angola. Now you can get acquainted with all this by reading a large and talented essay by T. A. Davydova, an employee of the publishing house, and in those distant years - an expert cartographer and surveyor, later a diplomat who traveled all over Angola and a number of other African countries. Her sketches of landscapes of Angola and its inhabitants are filled with sympathy for them. I can't resist quoting just two phrases-a story about a group of Angolan women who happened to meet by chance: "All my colleagues slowly petrified as the ladies approached - they were black-faced beauties. All seven of them, as if nature had repeated the beauty of Nefertiti in seven of them, with her finely chiseled oval face, straight little nose, small mouth, huge, hazy gazelle eyes."

Of course, the vast majority of the almanac's essays are addressed to African scholars, and they deal with serious research - historical, linguistic, and political. But fans of just interesting, fascinating reading material will also find a lot of bright, entertaining pages in it. Such is, for example, the short story of Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of MGIMO A. L. Yemelyanov "How I brought the first lemur to the Soviet Union". Indeed, transporting a cute animal, which is considered a national treasure of Madagascar, thousands of kilometers away by plane was an extremely difficult task, and the story of how it was solved is really more fascinating than any detective story.

The authors of some of the almanac's materials express concern about the future of Russian African studies. The current head of the Department of African Studies at ISAA MSU, N. V. Gromova, writes: "Unfortunately, during the years of perestroika, many practical African studies centers were closed, and the Africanists who worked there had to retrain." Only recently, in her opinion, "things have moved forward." Fortunately, the almanac has published articles that convince us that Russian African studies have good prospects. Young scientists are provided with such opportunities for scientific research and replenishment of the scientific bug-

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things that the Africanists of previous generations never dreamed of.

Author of the essay "Somali History", Candidate of Historical Sciences, ISAA student since 1994, L. V. Ivanova received a scholarship from the Institute of International Education, trained at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, then studied at the American University, trained in Somalia, and then at St. Petersburg University. Now she is the editor of a magazine for the Somali community in Moscow, a researcher at the Institute of International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I think that young scientists with such a rich educational and scientific background will still have a say in Russian African studies, enriching it with new scientific results.

The almanac ends with a modern list of the Department of African Studies of ISAA and a list of doctors and candidates of sciences "passed" through this department. The latest list is impressive - 15 doctors and 59 candidates. The full list of students who studied at the department in 1960 - 2010 is also given.

The generally favorable impression of the book is somewhat "smeared" by sometimes careless editing. Of course, in five years (1969-1973) the department prepared not 13 titles, but textbooks and manuals of 13 titles (E. S. Lvova, " Nikolai Georgievich Kalinin (1922-1993). It is completely incomprehensible why the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" in one of the essays is called "courtier" - this is a quality that has never been characteristic of this publication (N. G. Shcherbakov, "Day of Liberation of Africa"). In almost all the essays, some of the characters are called by their first and patronymic names, others are accompanied only by initials, and still others are not honored with this...

Finally, the last thing: the almanac is classified as a book that is published only "for your own" - its circulation is only 300 copies. Probably, even "my own" students-those who studied at the Department of African Studies of the IVYA/ISAA-did not have enough... I, for example, did not study at the ISAA at all, but among the journalists mentioned in the book are many of my friends and acquaintances. I would definitely buy the 5th issue of the almanac "Under the sky of my Africa", but I also did not manage to" catch " it in bookstores....

From which it is impossible not to conclude: the literary, educational and social significance of such publications is clearly underestimated in our country.


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