All the Russias' Blog

A space for news and opinion, sponsored by The Jordan Center

Illustrated Children’s Literature and Reading Under Lenin and Stalin

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Yesterday and today. Broadly speaking, this is the theme at the heart of my recently published book, “Picturing the Page: Illustrated Children’s Literature and Reading Under Lenin and Stalin” (University of Toronto Press, 2020). In Russian cultural history, “yesterday and today” continues to resonate as a theme, since the Putin state is just as invested in controlling the narrative of the Soviet past as the Soviets were in harnessing the past of Imperial Russia.

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Interrogating the Declining Significance of Pushkin’s Blackness: Henry James, Ivan Turgenev, and Literary Nationalism (with Korey Garibaldi and Emily Wang)

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On October 14th, Professors Korey Garibaldi and Emily Wang, both of Notre Dame, joined the Jordan Center to speak about their collaborative work on race and literature in talk entitled “Interrogating the Declining Significance of Pushkin’s Blackness: Henry James, Ivan Turgenev, and Literary Nationalism.”

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Peremen! I Want Change!

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Last August was marked by ongoing mass protests in Belarus targeting the “last European dictator,” Alexander Lukashenko. This article discusses the song that became the soundtrack of these events: “Peremen!” (“I Want Change!”) by the legendary band KINO. First released in 1987, the song instantly became the anthem of perestroika, and has symbolized the desire for change in Russia and other post-Soviet republics ever since.

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Noviye Cheremushki: A History Forgotten

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Today, we often look with disdain at Khrushchyovkas, the low cost, concrete-panel or brick, 5- or 8-story apartment buildings of the Khruschev era. Yet they represented the hope of a better future for 1950s architects, urban planners and many other people. Wanting to find out more about their significance in the Russian history, I visited the first Soviet microdistrict, the 9th Microdistrict of Noviye Cheremushki (New Cheremushki), and spoke with some of the original residents.

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“From Another Shore”: Zoom in Russian Literary Studies

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Online technologies are, of course, a wonderful tool, but they do not solve the fundamental problems still discernible in our ways of conducting research on literature and culture in Russia today. In this note I’ll touch upon two important problems related to the institutional context and traditions of Russian literary criticism.

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Lessons Learned: Girls’ Empowerment Projects in Uzbekistan

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Western methods for encouraging girls’ empowerment and gender equality in Central Asia often lack a willingness to not only acknowledge, but also to work within historical, cultural, and political contexts. This shortcoming often renders short-term gains unsustainable and results in high turnover, meaning that empowerment efforts are typically led by a lineup of constantly-changing Western faces. Yet the success of these projects requires leadership alongside or exclusively by local experts capable of providing institutional memory, credibility, and an understanding of cultural contexts.

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