Lessons of the Leningrad blockade: schoolchildren’s diaries as sites of learning, 1941-1943
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Citation (published version)Alexis Peri. 2019. "Lessons of the Leningrad Blockade: Schoolchildren’s Diaries as Sites of Learning, 1941-1943." Peterburgskii istoricheskii zhurnal/The History Journal of St. Petersburg, Volume 3, pp. 192 - 210 (19). https://doi.org/10.24411/2311-603X-2019-00056
This essay examines the importance of education and the idiom of learning in diaries of the Leningrad Blockade. Using the diaries of schoolchildren, as well as of some teachers, this essay argues that learning and studying continued to play a central role in the lives young blokadniki even though the conditions of the Blockade greatly disrupted classroom lessons. Nevertheless, determined to maintain their studies and fulfill the Soviet regime’s didactic mission, some Leningrad schoolchildren used their diaries to design and carry out their own independent programs of study. In the process of undertaking these self-directed studies, the diarists critically engaged with Soviet textbooks and theories of pedagogy as well as with the particular circumstances created by the siege to draw some unique insights and unorthodox conclusions about familiar subjects like mathematics, history, composition, and political education.