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Chrenov, N. A. Lev Gumilev and Contradictions of Cultural Identity

Published in journal "Culture and Art", 2012-6 in rubric "Culture and cultures", pages 7-17.

Resume: The article is devoted to the contribution of a famous ethnologist, historian and geographer Lev Gumilev to Russian and world science and culture. As a part of Gumilev’s legacy, the author of the article underlines the elimination of the ‘Orientalistic discourse’ in Western humanities – the image of the East which was created in Western science during the early modern period but did not depicture the real East adequately. That image was created based on the emperial complex of the Romano-Germanic nations which, as Lev Gumilev said, was at the ‘acmatic’ stage of development. That image was Þ rst born in the minds of the ruling elite at Western states and later adopted by the humanities. Russian science happened to be under the inß uence of the ‘Orientalistic discourse’, too. This is why Lev Gumilev’s idea that there was no Mongol-Tatar Yoke in Russian history is usually taken with such resentment. The author of this particular article refers the Orientalistic discourse to Art Nouveau project that was created in Western philosophy during the Age of Enlightenment. It is also proved that there was an alternative project in history of humanities although it was related to the Romantic movement. Romanticists argued against separating West and East and viewed these two super cultures as one whole. Attemp to deÞ ne and prove that there was an alternative project in Russia, too, although Russian romanticists were better known as Slavophiles, allows to understand Lev Gumilev’s approach and appreciate his contribution to world science.

Keywords: cultural studies, Orientalistic approach, ethnos, civilizational identity, humanitarian sciences, natural sciences, passionarity, acmatic phase, Art Nouveau project, romanticism.

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