Issue 8 (106)
Cognitive Sciences and Historical Cognition | The Religious Factor in International Relations
Volume: 12
Publication date: 15.09.2021
1000 RUB / 10.0 SU


Part I. Cognitive Sciences and Historical Cognition (ed. by Olga Vorobyova)


The thematic issue brings together the results of research conducted by scientists from different fields of academic knowledge such as philosophy, linguistics, and history regarding the interaction between history and cognitive sciences. By reflecting on the achievements of modern neuroscience and its search for brain and genetic mechanisms of assimilating cultural experience, the authors consider the points of contact and the prospects of cooperation between historians and representatives of the cognitive sciences. Such prospects require researchers not only to form a special “brain culture”, but also to substantially renew research practices, the emergence of new zones of accumulating intellectual capital and ways of knowledge formation. The range of problems that cognitive historians try to work with includes cognitive history of science, cultural epidemiology, neuroarchaeology, history of material culture, cognitive history of religions, history of emotions and affects, cognitive studies of historical memory, and others. Theoretical approaches and specific results obtained in the course of this interaction are analyzed. The methodological problems of cognitive history are touched upon.

Considering the stated problem from different perspectives, the authors of the first section try to find points of “convergence”, points of intersection of research positions of historians and representatives of cognitive sciences, the possibility of using shared achievements in the practice of scientific cognition. The main focus is on historical cognition, but the authors believe that this dialogue is always reciprocal.

The authors of the second section focus on the cognitive potential of the history of memory and the history of emotions. It reveals the relationship of the cognitive possibilities of historical memory to its social framework and the self-identification of historians through the formation of cognitive maps. The key concepts for historians when studying the peculiarities of constructing memory about the past in the modern mediatized digital society, specifics of its documentation, preservation and transmission formats introduced into the scientific turnover of memory studies, such as media memory, digital memory, algorithmic memory, socio-technical connective memory are important cognitive landmarks. The possibilities of the history of emotions in the research of nationalism, the relationship between nationalism, “national character”, “emotional mode” and everyday behavioral practices are considered.

The specificity and complexity of historical cognition is examined in the third section of the issue using the example of historians' work with the central concepts of historical science — time and space, and the role of the historian's conceptual apparatus in the structure of cognition is shown. In the cognitive models of historical knowledge and the change of cognitive maps the authors trace the role of historical experience and its emotional comprehension. Cognitive strategies and cognitive tools for making sense of the historical past are explored.

The last section provides an overview of cognitive research in contemporary historiography. Original models and examples of the use of cognitive tools in various fields of historical knowledge, contributing to the creation of an integrative scientific picture of the world, the emergence of new perspectives, aspects, approaches, directions and problem fields are offered.

Part II. The Religious Factor in International Relations (ed. by Evgeniya Tokareva, Aleksey Beglov, Nadezhda Belyakova)


The Centre for the Study of the History of Religion and Church History (Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences) offers readers a thematic part of the issue dedicated to the role of religion in international relations history. The authors demonstrate a range of approaches and perspectives for studying the presence of the religious factor in the history of international relations. The articles composing the issue cover the period from the middle of the 19th to the end of the 20th century.

The first section is devoted to diplomatic activities in the Middle East, a region traditionally of importance for Russia. It examines both the traditional elements of the Russian Empire’s church diplomacy in Syria and the involvement of religious institutions in the foreign policy initiatives of the Soviet state after the Second World War. In particular, it examines the little-studied problems of pilgrimages from the USSR (both Orthodox and Islamic) in the context of the activities of Soviet diplomacy in the Middle East.

The second section comprises several studies focused on the clash of religious structures that have their jurisdiction outside Russia, namely the Catholic Church, Evangelicals, and Jehovah's Witnesses, with the socialist regimes of the twentieth century. The articles in this section offer an analysis of two critical periods in the history of both Russia and Europe. The first of them is the First World War and the interwar period. The second is the period of the early stages of the Cold War that commenced after the global military conflict of 1939—1945.

The articles of this section demonstrate, on the one hand, the desire of these religious structures to strengthen and consolidate their presence on Soviet territories and those of Eastern Europe, which found itself in the orbit of Soviet influence after World War II. On the other hand, there was the persistent unwillingness of the socialist authorities to allow neither “Western” clergy to enter nor “Western” religious centres to exert their influence in the territories under Soviet control. At the same time, the same authorities combined such a policy with attempts to use these religious structures in political games with the West.

From 1938 to 1992, the Church of St. Louis of the French was the only legally operating Roman Catholic parish church in Moscow. The peculiarity of the parish was that its core membership and its “executive bodies” comprised foreign nationals and representatives of the diplomatic corps, primarily of France and the United States. In the second half of the 1940s, amid rising tensions between the Soviet authorities and with the West, the former subjected the community of St. Louis and its clergy to their control. They sought to limit or block informal communication channels between Catholic faithful in the USSR and religious centres abroad. Today, it is possible to detail the circumstances of this case thanks to the Russian archival materials and the documents found in archival repositories outside Russia. These documents were identified and studied within the framework of research project “Entangled Histories: Russia and the Vatican, 1917—1958” supported by the Russian Science Foundation. In the third section, for the first time, unique documents that have appeared in different parts of the world due to the global nature of the Catholic Church are presented to the academic community.

The fourth section introduces readers to the intellectual contribution to the theory of the ecumenical movement made by the Orthodox thinker Léon Zander. Subsequently, it fundamental impacted interfaith relations and became an important factor in international global politics of the second half of the twentieth century.

Issue publications 8 (106)
History and Cognition
Memory Studies and the History of Emotions in the Theory and Practice of Historical Research
Cognitive Maps and Strategies of Historical Cognition
Cognitive Studies in Modern Historiography
The Religious Factor in International Relations