The Russian educational system has reached a critical juncture, and the opportunity exists to transform literary education in this transformational society. This project will examine changes that have already taken place in literary education since collapse of the Soviet Union and propose a model for further reform. The fundamental goal is building a model for humanistic literary education. This model also aims at updating of theoretical concepts. It will thus fill the gap between the development of modern theories of literature and analytical techniques. Most contemporary Russian literary pedagogy still makes use of very traditional and rather conservative techniques of criticism held over from the Soviet era. Changes in the curriculum requires that out-moded theoretical concepts like “sobornost” and “narodnost” be replaced by new concepts such as “hypertext,” “intertext,” and “chronotop.” One of the basic premises of this research project is that new technologies will bring new dimensions to the teaching of reading. Rather than bemoan the negative impact that new technologies supposedly have on reading, we can embrace and take advantages of their possibilities. The debate over new State Educational standards affords the chance not only to “unload” literary education of the oppressive baggage of the authoritarian trends, but also to make structural changes toward a humanistic literary education for the development of humanistic readers. My research project and the resulting book Transforming Educational Policy in a Transformational Society offers a model which can move literary education in this direction.
Boris Lanin was born in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR in 1961. In 1983 he obtained a Diploma with Honours (summa cum laude) from the Baku Slavic University – Pedagogical Institute of Azerbaijan. He received his PhD of Philology from the Moscow Pedagogical University in 1994. Since 1999, he has been Head of Literature at the Russian Academy of Education in Moscow. He has been awarded several visiting fellowships from Hokkaido University, Kobe University (Japan), Central European University (Budapest), the British Academy, the Kennan Institute, Stanford University, and Woodrow Wilson International Center. He has published Russian Literary Anti-Utopia (1993), Prose of the Third Wave of Russian Emigration (1997), Methods of Studying and Teaching Literature (An Anthology, 2001), Literary Education in 19-21 cc. Russia (2005), as well textbooks in literature for high school students.