Scientific interests: Russia in 18th – early 19th century: social history, everyday history, history of education.
Publications on history of education and training:
- [with G.I. Smagina] Учился ли император Петр II и чему? Расположение учений императора Петра II в политическом и академическом контекстах эпохи // Новые модели образования и прожектерство в России первой половины XVIII века. М.: Новое издательство, 2014 [in print].
- [with I.I. Fedyukin] Сухопутный Кадетский корпус в Санкт-Петербурге (1730-е годы) и его берлинский прообраз // Новые модели образования и прожектерство в России первой половины XVIII века. М.: Новое издательство, 2014 [in print].
“… You Will Find in Your Masters Your Protectors and in the Children Entrusted to You – Your Friends…”: How a ‘New Breed’ of Governesses for Noble Children Was Trained at the Beginning of the 19th Century
In 1808 upon the order of the Empress Maria Fyodorovna a “class of tutoresses” was opened in Moscow Foster Home to train home teachers able to replace foreign tutors in the noble families. Opening and first graduates of this class took place on the background of the nationalist discourse of the early 19th century, when the political elite was concerned about the predominance of French language in the intellectual life, and the need to educate youth in the “national” history and language was seen as a priority education and training (M.M. Speransky, N.S. Mordvinov, A.S. Shishkov et al.). Among the documents of the Moscow Board of Trustees (CIAM. F. 127) a case of 1821 was found, containing materials on the training of one of the first graduate classes of “tutoresses”, and a petition of provincial nobility about sending tutors to their families for teaching their children. Most of the petitions of concerned noblemen and noblewomen were sent from the Volga and Black Earth provinces; military and civilian ranks were divided equally between the nobles, the three of them had the highest 6th rank, the majority of them belonged to rank 8-12. Thus, the needs of the nobility predetermined the occupation for individuals who had „zero“ social identity. Young women, who not only did not have any idea about the noble way of life, but most of them have not ever lived in a family, had to convey the aristocratic culture ideals to the provincial nobility.
The education of future tutoresses was headed by the inspector of the Foster Home, later Professor and Head of the Department of History at the Moscow University, a native of Braunschweig Juliy Petrovich Ulrichs. In his pedagogical instructions he demanded from future governesses to take into account individual characteristics of their fosterlings: the level of ability, diligence, “good nature” – and to find the approach to everyone. In order to form the mindset and to convey to their female students basic information about science, he designed a textbook “Experience of encyclopedic review of verbal, historical, natural, mathematical and philosophical sciences”, which is a compiled overview of the main sciences with an emphasis on philosophy. Despite the criticism expressed by the “nationalist” camp, French language remained the main discipline in the curriculum of tutoresses themselves having the most developed teaching methodology. According to the results of the exam passed, which included tasks in all subjects, female candidates were divided into “three clusters” that affect the payment of their work, proposed in the petitions of the nobility. Thus, the discourse on nationalism provided a new type of education and a “new breed” of home teachers to the service of the nobility.