Kurt Koffka, an Unwitting Self-Portrait

By Molly Harrower | Go to book overview

the russian- uzbekistan expedition

In the early summer of 1932 Koffka was invited by Alexander Luria,* the Russian psychologist, to accompany him on an expedition to Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The Uzbek Republic had just come under the Soviet influence, and the government-sponsored expedition hoped to make a psychological assessment of the natives for comparative purposes at some later date, when Soviet influence would presumably be evidenced.

Koffka was interested and made preparations to give various psychological tests to some segments of the population. In May he left for Germany where he was to wait and obtain the necessary papers for the trip.

Unfortunately Koffka became ill, with what finally was diagnosed as relapsing fever, and never able to take part in the expedition proper. However, his letters describing his experiences in Moscow and in Uzbekistan have general interest. In several excerpts, Koffka refers to Harrower's written exams for the Ph.D. from Smith. Although all the exams were passed successfully in June 1932, the committee postponed informing her that she had passed or putting the results on record until a year later, when all requirements had been met.

Since Wednesday, I have been in Berlin, seeing people and trying to get a visa. So far my efforts have been a complete failure, as a matter of fact I have become accustomed to the

-143-

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Kurt Koffka, an Unwitting Self-Portrait
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Koffka as Psychologist 9
  • The Private Koffka 39
  • The Public Koffka 74
  • Koffka as Mentor 99
  • Koffka as Colleague 118
  • The Russian- Uzbekistan Expedition 143
  • Reactions to The Gathering Clouds Of War 165
  • In Oxford The Clinician 185
  • In Oxford The Year Unfolds 206
  • Epilogue. Koffka's Core Values And Beliefs 249
  • Appendix A. Biographical Sketch: Koffka 253
  • Appendix B. Major Dates: Koffka 259
  • Appendix C. Major Dates: Harrower 261
  • Appendix D. a Note on The Koffka Papers 263
  • Appendix E. - Koffka's Letter To Sir Arthur Eddington 276
  • Glossary of Names 307
  • Works Cited 319
  • Index 323
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