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Genesis: Historical research
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Ego-documents as means of constructing personal and family history: the instance of Peter and Mikhail Gerasimovs
Golubinov Iaroslav

PhD in History

Senior Scientific Associate, Institute of History and Archeology of Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

620990, Russia, Sverdlovskaya oblast', g. Ekaterinburg, ul. Sof'i Kovalevskoi, 16

i.golubinov@gmail.com

DOI:

10.25136/2409-868X.2019.12.31568

Review date:

02-12-2019


Publish date:

04-12-2019


Abstract.

The author explores the problem of using ego-documents to construct personal and family history, referring to documented heritage of Gerasimov brothers, as well as their relatives. Ego-documents are viewed as an important means of constructing and public presentation of the past depending on the requirements of ideology and political conjuncture. Structuring of the past primarily consists in utilization of a complex system of omissions and censorship of reminiscences in creation of ego-documents, which can turn out to be dangerous or produce awkward questions. Ego-documents also enable creating special versions of the memory of the past, comprising realistic events and blatant myths. The research of ego-documents greatly benefits from modern methods, which examine such sources as key testimonies of special experience of the present and reflection of the past. At the same time, subjectivity of the source becomes a virtue, allowing to understand the specificity of the perception of personal life path. A conclusion is made that members of the Gerasimov family actively reassembled their past depending on circumstances (pressure of ideology and public representations on more proper lifestyle), in which they had to publically reveal it in the ego-documents. However, absences of clear ideological pressure, as it is demonstrated on the example of one of the ego-documents, certainly does not release from creation of phantom past.

Keywords: sources of private origin, censorship of memory, Russian history, biography, memory, family history, ego-document, personal history, reframing of history, Russian emigration
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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