Medicine and Mortality in the Gulag

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A prevailing argument in Gulag academia posits that the cruelty and inhumanity in Stalinist camps was never deliberate or “centrally coordinated”, but rather a product of incompetence, shortages, depletion of resources, and other “external factors” such as the harsh Siberian climates. But in her book Illness and Inhumanity in Stalin’s Gulag, Dr. Golfo Alexopoulos argues, contrary to popular Gulag literature, that Stalinist camps were actually more akin to death camps: a “highly coordinated system of violent human exploitation” to a “degree not previously documented.”

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A Balanchine for the New Millennium: Dana Genshaft and “Shadow Lands” at the Washington Ballet

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A futuristic feeling pervades Dana Genshaft’s new work “Shadow Lands,” the centerpiece of the Washington Ballet’s Three World Premieres this April at the Harman Center. Along with Ethan Stiefel’s Wood Work and Trey McIntyre’s “Teeming Waltzes,” Genshaft’s “Shadow Lands” represents the Washington Ballet’s initiative to promote new choreographic art.

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Iosif Vissarionovich Changes Profession

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Under Stalin, a successful rehabilitation of Ivan the Terrible was required to be Romantic, implying an optimistic interpretation of history and of Stalin’s political achievements. Where the Party mandated Romance, Eisenstein gave them Tragedy. On the other hand, Bulgakov’s “Ivan Vasilievich” earned the ire of Soviet critics by presenting a world that remained untouched by progress, thereby portraying history as Satire. For his “Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession,” Leonid Gaidai adapted Bulgakov’s play, an already risky procedure, and built into this adaptation references to Eisenstein’s film.

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Interview with Sean Guillory, Part II

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“I think we who either produce or engage with academic work need to seriously reconsider what we do, why we do it, and whom we do it for. I remember in my first year of grad school, one of my professors said that his audience was the handful of experts around his topic. I found this really shocking, but at the same time, I couldn’t blame him. Academia is structurally designed so that all you have to do is impress a handful of people— peer reviewers, tenure committees, experts in your field and the people who might review your book in an academic journal, etc. I find this really sad—not to mention incredibly unimaginative—given the amount of blood, sweat, and tears people put into their work.”

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