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Studies of Slavic peoples, languages, and culture
Slavic studies (North America), Slavonic studies (Britain and Ireland) or Slavistics (borrowed from Russian ? or Polish slawistyka) is the academic field of area studies concerned with Slavic areas, Slavic languages, literature, history, and culture. Originally, a Slavist (from Russian ? or Polish slawista) 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 in this rubric.
In North America, Slavic studies are dominated by Russian studies; Ewa Thompson describes the situation of non-Russian Slavic studies as "invisible and mute."
The history of Slavic studies is generally 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.
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 were 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 though university enrollments in Slavic languages have declined since then.