MANFRED KOSSOK PDF

Dale W. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. During the early Soviet period and the Cold War, it was commonly viewed as ideologically driven, of little originality or merit, and outside of the norms and conventions of disinterested scholarship. Yet, this operation entails a kind of historical streamlining that risks occluding the intellectual history of the twentieth century and impoverishing a historical social science that is still in the process of formation, by omitting or ignor- ing real accomplishments of scholars in the Eastern Bloc or at least those who cannot be assimilated into western conventions that were achieved under conditions very different from those in the West. Centered on the comparative history of modern revolutions, Kossok and his colleagues were particularly con- cerned to specify the relation between bourgeois revolutions in Europe and the independence movements in Latin America. They elaborated a distinct methodological approach to comparison and undertook a remarkable and extensive project of comparative re- search.

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Dale W. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. During the early Soviet period and the Cold War, it was commonly viewed as ideologically driven, of little originality or merit, and outside of the norms and conventions of disinterested scholarship. Yet, this operation entails a kind of historical streamlining that risks occluding the intellectual history of the twentieth century and impoverishing a historical social science that is still in the process of formation, by omitting or ignor- ing real accomplishments of scholars in the Eastern Bloc or at least those who cannot be assimilated into western conventions that were achieved under conditions very different from those in the West.

Centered on the comparative history of modern revolutions, Kossok and his colleagues were particularly con- cerned to specify the relation between bourgeois revolutions in Europe and the independence movements in Latin America.

They elaborated a distinct methodological approach to comparison and undertook a remarkable and extensive project of comparative re- search. By at once specifying particular revolutions and establishing the typological and substantive relations among them, they ultimately constructed a conception of the capitalist world economy from the perspective of bourgeois revolutions.

This project is an important contribution to historical research for the unprecedented scope and depth of its analysis. The activity of Kossok and his collaborators needs to be understood in that context. To be a Marxist historian in a country that claims to be socialist and where Marxism is institution- alized as the official ideology of the state poses a distinct set of condi- tions on work and on intellectual inquiry.

History itself is a politically charged field, yet historical inquiry was not uni- formly subordinated to a monolithic official ideology. Personal intel- lectual and political commitment and scientific activity operate within but do not always coincide with official doctrine. The same vocabulary and concepts serve scientific inquiry, legitimation, policy, and political orientation. They may appear to coincide or overlap to a greater or lesser degree, but closer examination reveals diver- gences, conflicts, and tensions within discourse that are unfamiliar to western scholars.

The conditions and direction of academic life are explicitly subject to political-bureaucratic considerations, and state institutions, and doctrine, weighs unevenly and at times arbitrarily on the space for scientific inquiry. After his expulsion from the Social- This content downloaded from A research group of graduate and post-graduate students quickly formed around this comparative study of colonial systems and anticolonial independence movements.

Manfred Kossok began his study of Latin America in this context. In Kossok made his first trip to Latin America. He travelled extensively throughout the conti- nent and taught and conducted research in Uruguay and Chile.

In subsequent years, he taught, lectured, and conducted research throughout the continent. Kossok contributed to the historiograph- ical debate over feudalism and capitalism in Latin America and its implications for political strategy and economic development.

In ad- dition, he published extensively in Latin America as well as in Ger- many on a wide variety of topics, including the role of the army and of the Church in Latin American politics, international politics, and diplomacy, and economic relations between Europe and Latin Amer- ica.

Through these activities he deepened and broadened his knowledge of Latin American history and developed an analytical perspective that sought to account for the conditions of specific re- gions and countries within the broad historical pattern of economic and political development.

The quality of his work and his close en- gagement with intellectual life established his reputation as a figure of reference, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba. At the same time, he was increasingly influenced by the Cuban Revolution and by his discovery of the work of Peruvian Marxist Juan Carlos Mariategui. This content downloaded from Under his guid- ance, the Leipzig school mounted a remarkable, original, and com- prehensive program of comparative historical research to establish the specificity of modern revolutions.

This project required the elaboration of an independent meth- odological and conceptual model that differed from the category- driven analysis of official Marxism as well from the theoretical ap- proach of historical sociology. For Kossok, the purpose of theory was to guide research. Rather, it was to direct and organize research and to provide an analytical and interpretive framework for the construction of theoretically relevant and histori- cally concrete accounts.

He formulated a system of typologies to serve as the means to mediate between theory and historical reality. The typolo- gies were intended to orient empirical research and organize com- parison. Intense empirical research into particular cases sought to identify their distinguishing characteristics, while comparison con- textualized individual cases within a framework formed by relations between the cases. Through this process, Kossok generated new types and subtypes, including a historical typology of colonial systems.

By this means, particular cases were at once brought into relation with one another and aligned with phases of capitalist development.

In- creasingly comprehensive examination of cases to include more fac- tors broadened and deepened the perspective and promoted more spatially and temporally comprehensive analysis. This approach led him to reject the French Revolution as the prototypical model of bourgeois revo- lution and to integrate the role of popular struggles, the question of hegemony, and reform as a means of dealing with social economic tensions and conflicts without revolution into his conceptual frame- work.

At the same time, his engagement with Latin American inde- pendence movements led him to add the idea of anticolonial strug- gle and national liberation to the repertoire of historical analysis and to deepen the scope of inquiry in order to examine social and eco- nomic conditions underpinning independence movements within the long-term historical trajectory of Latin America.

This deeper framework allowed him to establish the specificity of particular revo- lutions within a broader unifying framework. Through substantive comparisons, he established historically struc- tured relations between particular cases within a unified overall field. His efforts to synthesize the results of comparative research gradually transformed the project into a history of general societal transfor- mation viewed through the lens of modern revolutions i.

By building up and elab- orating this approach through analysis of particular cases, Kossok moved toward a concept of a capitalist world economy as the frame This content downloaded from He identified the bourgeois rev- olutions of the sixteenth century as the starting point of world history of the modern era, within which there was a structured relation be- tween revolutionary cycles, including a cycle of peripheral revolu- tions that culminated in the Mexican and Russian Revolutions of the early twentieth century.

In the final years of real socialism, Kossok argued for more openness and autonomy for intellectual life and defended a vision of trans- formative socialism influenced by his experience with the Cuban Rev- olution and his reading of the works of Mariategui. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the politics of German unification resulted in his in- tellectual and academic marginalization.

Significantly, his last public lecture was on Immanuel Wallerstein and the modern world-system. The work of Kossok and the Leipzig group is an integral part of the global renewal of historical social science that emerged from the s onward. In particular, it has a strong affinity with the emer- gence of the world-systems perspective. Each emerged independently under very different circum- stances and conditions. Nonetheless, beginning from very different starting points, the two movements developed in parallel with one another and ultimately converged on a world-historical understand- ing of capitalist development and a conception of capitalist world- economy.

The world-systems perspective associated with Immanuel Wallerstein arose as a critique of comparative sociology and history based on independent national cases, which still dominates in the social sciences. Emphasizing the unity of the capitalist world-econ- omy as a whole, it places stringent conditions on comparison. At the same time, it admits the possibility of moving from the parts to the whole and of comparison in order to analyze the world-system. How- ever, it regards this as the more difficult approach and it is not gen- erally associated with this perspective.

In contrast, the global compar- ative approach pioneered by Manfred Kossok and the Leipzig school arrives at a concept of the capitalist world economy as an encompass- ing transnational relation precisely through detailed comparative in- vestigation of particular cases or instances. A dialogue between these This content downloaded from We present this issue of Review as a contribution to this project.

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Manfred Kossok

Markov, a specialist in the history of the French Revolution, had spent 11 years in a Nazi prison, where the library contained a huge number of books on colonial problems and especially German colonial ventures. Kossok became the main Latin Americanist in that group, and after studying with Markov, he went to the University of Cologne to study the colonial history of Latin America with Richard Konetzke, the dean of German Latin American historians. He then wrote a second dissertation Habilitationsschrift that was published under the title Im Schatten der heiligen Allianz In the Shadow of the Holy Alliance, Kossok during that same time wrote a pathbreaking essay on Nazi policy toward Latin America, based on hitherto unpublished sources available in East Germany. Kossok taught at universities in a number of Latin American countries—Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Cuba—and his work that was translated into Spanish was known throughout Latin America. This workshop was characterized by a degree of open and free discussion that was quite unusual in the German Democratic Republic.

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