Slavic studies

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Slavic studies (North America), Slavonic studies (Britain and Ireland) or Slavistics (borrowed from Russian славистика) is the academic field of area studies concerned with Slavic areas, Slavic languages, literature, history, and culture. Originally, a Slavist (from Russian славист) or Slavicist was primarily a linguist or philologist researching Slavistics, a Slavic (AmE) or Slavonic (BrE) scholar. Increasingly historians and other humanists and social scientists who study Slavic area cultures and societies have been included[by whom?] in this rubric.

Slavistics emerged in late 18th and early 19th century, simultaneously with national revivals among various nations of Slavic origins and with ideological attempts to establish a common sense of Slavic community, exemplified by the Pan-Slavist movement. Among the first scholars to use the term was Josef Dobrovský (1753-1829).

The history of Slavic studies is generally divided[by whom?] into three periods. Until 1876 the early Slavists concentrated on documentation and printing of monuments of Slavic languages, among them the first texts written in national languages. At this time the majority of Slavic languages received their first modern dictionaries, grammars and compendia. The second period, ending with World War I, featured the rapid development of Slavic philology and linguistics, most notably outside of Slavic countries themselves, in the circle formed around August Schleicher (1821-1868) and around August Leskien (1840-1916) at the University of Leipzig.

After World War I Slavic studies scholars focused on dialectology, while the science continued to develop in countries with large populations having Slavic origins. After World War II there developed centres of Slavic studies, and much greater expansion into other humanities and social science disciplines in various universities around the world. Indeed, partly due to the political concerns in Western European and the United States about the Slavic world nurtured by the Cold War, Slavic studies flourished in the years from World War II into the 1990s and remain[when?] strong (though university enrollments in Slavic languages have declined since the 1990s).

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