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Russian and Soviet Cultural Institutions

ENGL 591.401
crosslisted as: SLAV 653, COML 653, HIST 620
R 2-5:00 pm


In this seminar, we will study Russian and Soviet culture through the history of its institutions, in the broader social-institutional context of land-based European empire and state socialism. The course will include material from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, but attention will be focused disproportionately on the twentieth century. Each unit will focus on a specific social institution of culture, yet will also require the reading/viewing of canonical texts and films. Topics will include: reading publics and education; authorship and professionalization; cultural management of social, ethnic, gender and national diversity (including via institutions of translation); journals and publishing houses; genres; the Union of Soviet Writers; censorship and unofficial dissemination; the film industry; cultural history and memory (jubilee celebrations); the culture industry. Works will include: Pushkin's Eugene Onegin; Gogol’s Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka; Anna Akhmatova's Evening; Fedor Gladkov's Cement; Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible; Solzhenitsyn's A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; Evgeniia Ginzburg's Krutoi marshrut; Viktor Pelevin's Generation «П»; and others. Discussion will be in English. All readings will be available in both Russian and English translation.