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Slavic (American English) or Slavonic (British English) studies, also known as Slavistics is the academic field of area studies concerned with Slavic areas, languages, literature, history, and culture. Originally, a Slavist or Slavicist was primarily a linguist or philologist researching Slavistics. Increasingly, historians, social scientists, and other humanists who study Slavic area cultures and societies have been included in this rubric.

In North America, Slavic studies is dominated by Russian studies. Ewa Thompson, a professor of Slavic studies at Rice University, described the situation of non-Russian Slavic studies as "invisible and mute."[1]


Slavistics emerged in late 18th and early 19th century, simultaneously with Romantic nationalisim among various Slavic nations, and 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 can be divided 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. At this time, Slavonic scholars focused on dialectology.

After World War II there were developed centers 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 Cold War. Slavic studies flourished in the years from World War II into the 1990s, though university enrollments in Slavic languages have declined since then.


Following the traditional division of Slavs into three subgroups (eastern, southern, western), Slavic studies are also divided into three distinctive subfields:

Slavic countries and areas of interest

Notable people


Journals and book series

Main article: List of journals about Slavic studies


Institutes and schools



See also


  1. ^ Thompson, Ewa M. "Slavic but not Russian: Invisible and Mute" (PDF). Porównania. 16: 9–18. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Gordey (2011): Morphonology in Belarusian lingvistics: The formation period, p. 142.
  3. ^ Kassianova (2002), p. 1001: "Rusinistica, or Carpatho-Rusyn studies - a social science discipline focusing on the history of an Eastern Slavic people inhabiting the northern and southern slope of the Carpathian mountains and living within the borders of several Eastern and Central European countries."
  4. ^ Greenberg 2004, p. 151.


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