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Illuminating the Past to Create a Brighter Future: Aleksandr Chizhevskii, the Sun, and His Search for Historical Laws

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Abstract:

During the 1920s historian and scientist Aleksandr Chizhevskii attempted to find order hidden beneath the apparent chaos of human events. Committed to a mechanistic view of human behavior, Chizhevskii believed that incorporating theories, methods, and concepts from the natural sciences and medicine into the study of history was essential to uncovering this order. His own efforts to do this led him to claim the existence of a historical cycle that correlates with the approximately eleven-year solar cycle. According to Chizhevskii, events such as wars, revolutions, the formation of religious and popular movements, outbursts of mass psychosis, and other phenomena correspond with particular phases of the sunspot cycle. Convinced that physical factors were responsible for producing this correlation, he attempted to identify the mechanisms involved that bridged the gap between physical and social phenomena. In this paper I will argue that Chizhevskii’s interest in understanding the influences of and interplay between physical and social factors in human behavior was not merely academic but an attempt to make sense of and respond to the upheaval of his own time marked by the First World War, 1917 Revolutions, and Civil War. Chizhevskii believed that by discovering historical laws and identifying the physical mechanisms involved, humans could prevent the rise and spread of destructive behaviors such as those he witnessed in his own time and to gain control of their future.
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Association:
Name: Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 45th Annual Convention
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http://aseees.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p654792_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hofius, Margaret. "Illuminating the Past to Create a Brighter Future: Aleksandr Chizhevskii, the Sun, and His Search for Historical Laws" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 45th Annual Convention, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA, <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p654792_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hofius, M. "Illuminating the Past to Create a Brighter Future: Aleksandr Chizhevskii, the Sun, and His Search for Historical Laws" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 45th Annual Convention, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p654792_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: During the 1920s historian and scientist Aleksandr Chizhevskii attempted to find order hidden beneath the apparent chaos of human events. Committed to a mechanistic view of human behavior, Chizhevskii believed that incorporating theories, methods, and concepts from the natural sciences and medicine into the study of history was essential to uncovering this order. His own efforts to do this led him to claim the existence of a historical cycle that correlates with the approximately eleven-year solar cycle. According to Chizhevskii, events such as wars, revolutions, the formation of religious and popular movements, outbursts of mass psychosis, and other phenomena correspond with particular phases of the sunspot cycle. Convinced that physical factors were responsible for producing this correlation, he attempted to identify the mechanisms involved that bridged the gap between physical and social phenomena. In this paper I will argue that Chizhevskii’s interest in understanding the influences of and interplay between physical and social factors in human behavior was not merely academic but an attempt to make sense of and respond to the upheaval of his own time marked by the First World War, 1917 Revolutions, and Civil War. Chizhevskii believed that by discovering historical laws and identifying the physical mechanisms involved, humans could prevent the rise and spread of destructive behaviors such as those he witnessed in his own time and to gain control of their future.


Similar Titles:
Authoring the Past in Search of the Future: Truth Commissions and Reconciliation

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Creating the Future from the Past: The Road Not Taken in Educational Leadership

Looking Into the Past to See our Future: Mobile Devices as Dynamic Historical Interpretation Tools


 
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