Moving Knowledge - The Soviet Union and China in the Twentieth Century
Interdisciplinary child research emerged in the late nineteenth century with the pioneering work of the American social-Darwinist psychologist G. Stanley Hall. It soon became a transnational scientic movement, pedology, which gained particular traction in Bolshevik Russia in the 1920s. The present essay oers an insight into pedological practice in the Soviet Udmurt Republic and highlights the engagement of local elites, who were concerned with both the theoretical implications and practical consequences of pedology for the indigenous population. Udmurt intellectuals regarded social-biological theories as discriminatory and formulated alternative approaches to school the next generation. This article presents their hitherto little documented educational projects, which evolved in the context of the new programme of child studies conducted in the region. The intellectual and scientic transfer that took place in Udmurtia was not a one-way street, but reects a reciprocal process of communication and exchange. For about a decade, local elites enjoyed a modicum of freedom and attempted to inuence Soviet scientic policy. Pedology proved to be an important but short-lived chapter in the history of Russian science.