The Vexing Case of Igor Shafarevich, a Russian Political Thinker

Authors: Berglund, Krista

  • ·         In the 1990s “the Shafarevich case” stirred a heated discussion in the mathematics community about a fundamental ethical principle: Can scientific honorary societies make demands to their members concerning their non-scientific views? Another obvious problem becomes topical with the present study and concerns the ethical repercussions of the fact that Shafarevich was demonized without reasonable justification
  • ·         This study, written by a historian of ideas and a specialist of Russian studies, also introduces Shafarevich’s companionships with some of the most interesting cultural figures of the Soviet Union in his youth, his extensive activities for defense of human rights and struggle against communist propaganda in the heyday of dissent in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, and his role as an important opinion-maker in post-Soviet Russia
  • ·         The large body of Shafarevich’s non-mathematical writings from the 1960s onwards includes texts discussing the contemporary, or “techno-scientific”, civilization. Shafarevich finds it deeply disturbing that this civilization sees machines, not living organisms, as the model of its life. However, while he maintains that contemporary man has ended up giving a virtual mandate in everything concerning his life to machines, he stresses that man – a living creature – is much more viable, creative, beautiful, sophisticated and adaptive than machines and, as such, much stronger than them
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About this book

This is the first comprehensive study about the non-mathematical writings and activities of the Russian algebraic geometer and number theorist Igor Shafarevich (b. 1923). In the 1970s Shafarevich was a prominent member of the dissidents’ human rights movement and a noted author of clandestine anti-communist literature in the Soviet Union. Shafarevich’s public image suffered a terrible blow around 1989 when he was decried as a dangerous ideologue of anti-Semitism due to his newly-surfaced old manuscript Russophobia. The scandal culminated when the President of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States suggested that Shafarevich, an honorary member, resign. The present study establishes that the allegations about anti-Semitism in Shafarevich’s texts were unfounded and that Shafarevich’s terrible reputation was cemented on a false basis.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“The book under review consists of 11 chapters. … The book is supplemented by a bibliography and index of personal names. The book will be of interest to mathematicians, historians of mathematics as well as historians of dissident movement.” (Roman Murawski, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1238, 2012)

“This meticulously researched book looks carefully at Shafarevich’s own writing as well as his record with students and colleagues and convincingly argues that Shafarevich was not anti-Semitic. The author, with equal care, analyzes in detail the writings of Shafarevich’s numerous critics. This book is based on the author’s 2009 doctoral thesis at the University of Helsinki … . Clearly, The vexing case of Igor Shafarevich is intended for serious students of Russian intellectual history.” (John J. Watkins, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2012 k)


Table of contents (11 chapters)

  • Igor Shafarevich, a Lightning Rod for Controversy

    Berglund, Krista

    Pages 1-19

  • Shafarevich’s Early Years in the Young Soviet State

    Berglund, Krista

    Pages 21-43

  • Shafarevich, the Human Rights Activist

    Berglund, Krista

    Pages 45-66

  • The First Disputes About the Soviet – and Russian – Future

    Berglund, Krista

    Pages 67-87

  • Shafarevich’s and Solzhenitsyn’s Joint Project, From Under the Rubble

    Berglund, Krista

    Pages 89-151

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-0348-0215-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-0348-0214-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-0348-0748-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Vexing Case of Igor Shafarevich, a Russian Political Thinker
Authors
Copyright
2012
Publisher
Birkhäuser Basel
Copyright Holder
Springer Basel AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-0348-0215-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-0348-0215-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-0348-0214-7
Softcover ISBN
978-3-0348-0748-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 542
Topics