Orlando Figes, The Professor Who Makes Cultural Difference in History


Professors are completely a different entity altogether. While to some they might be a complete nuisance, to the rest, they are an ordinary teacher who just spurts out words and directions who are no less than the robots. To the rest, they are a complete inspiration, but regardless of the fact that how they are being perceived by the students in the world of academics, they do serve as the last mentor who is being encountered before ending the life of a student. Each and every student deserves one professor who keeps motivating and empowering the college life.

Making an example of oneself is very tough, but for a professor, it is very important since that will encourage the students to be like them. Orlando Figes, a name in the world of History, is one such figure who has been capable of building himself that most of the students look forward to. Since History in itself is one of the boring subjects, and Figes has got a specialization in this respective field, the work gets a lot tougher for him. As the professors have a lot more flexibility that the teachers with not just what they teach, but also how they teach, the entire ambiance of teaching can be made a lot more interesting if the professor at all wants it. Without an overwhelming content always, it really feels like a blessing to have someone like Orlando Figes who makes sure that the students love the subject before pursuing it for the higher studies.

History is a discourse; there are several sides of it, and even shades of it. It is the politics of history that is being completely ignored by the students, and that makes the entire subject utterly boring for them. Any event just being recorded down in the books doesn’t qualify it as a historical event. The reasons behind the event, the immediate effects of the event on the society, and the long-term cultural aspects of that particular event in the community helps in building History on its own. And it is this particular study, that a student must delve in rather than following the notes of other scholars and appearing in the exams.

One of his recent studies has been the ‘Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991’ which is a short history of the Russian revolution in the long duration. Before this was done, he has even got ‘Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag’ published from the Penguin publishers which was actually based on an extraordinary archive of 1246 letters, that has been smuggled in and out from Stalin’s one of the most notorious labor camps between 1946 and 1954. Up next is a book which will focus on the cultural history of nineteenth-century Europe as the first age of globalization.

Any application in European History and Orlando Figes has got a big nod in it. But he particularly welcomes projects which are more focused on cultural and social history, the politics of nationality, peasant studies and the social, political and intellectual history of the socialist and communist movements. It is indeed tough to find professors like him investing in the cultural history of the entire world, and it is because of them the world of History is being enriched.

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