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Seminar 6

Stalinist Culture

  • What was the function of culture in the Soviet Union? (Socialist realism)
  • Which role did the cult of Stalin play in Stalinism?
  • Was socialist realism a complete break with the ideas of the art movements in the early Soviet Union? [debate]
  • How did the regime deal with artists and poets (cultural policy and role of censorship)?
PPT 

Sources

Gorky, Maxim et al. (eds), Soviet Writers' Congress 1934: the Debate on Socialist Realism and Modernism in the Soviet Union (London, 1977) (extract) (speech of Yuri Zhdanov, Speech of A. I. Stetsky)

Sample of Soviet paintings and propaganda posters PowerPoint

 

Essential Reading

Fitzpatrick, Sheila, Everyday Stalinism (Oxford 1999), pp. 67-88 (= Chapter 3: Palaces on Monday). Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Stites, Richard, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution (Oxford, 1988), pp. 225-141 (= Chapter 11: War on the Dreamers)

Davies, Sarah, 'Stalin and the Making of the Leader Cult in the 1930s', in Apor Balázs, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones, E.A. Rees (eds), The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships (London, 2004), pp. 29-46

Recommended Reading

Brandenberger, David, ‘Stalin as Symbol: A Case Study of the Personality Cult and Its Construction’, in Davies/Harris, Stalin, pp. 249-270.

Further Reading

Bonnell, Victoria E., Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin (Berkeley, 1997).

Brandenberger, David, ‘Stalin as Symbol: A Case Study of the Personality Cult and Its Construction’, in Davies/Harris, Stalin, pp. 249-270.

Brooks, Jeffrey, Thank you, comrade Stalin!: Soviet public culture from revolution to Cold War (Princeton, 2000).

Clark, Katerina et al (eds.), Soviet Culture and Power: A History in Documents, 1917-1953 (New Haven, 2007)

Clark, Katerina, Moscow, the fourth Rome: Stalinism, cosmopolitanism, and the evolution of Soviet culture, 1931-1941 (Cambridge, Mass., 2011)

Clark, Katerina, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, 2nd ed. (Chicago 1985)

Davies, Sarah, ‘Stalin as Patron of Cinema: Creating Soviet Mass Culture, 1932-1936’, in Sarah Davies and James Harris, Stalin: A New History (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 202-225.

Dobrenko, Evgeny and Eric Naiman (eds), The Landscape of Stalinism: the Art and Ideology of Soviet Space (Seattle, 2003).

Dunham, Vera S., In Stalin’s Time: Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction (Cambridge, Mass., 1976).

Eaton, Katherine Bliss (ed.), Enemies of the People: The Destruction of Soviet Literary, Theatre, and Film Arts in the 1930s (Evanston, IL, 2002).

Ermolaev, Herman, Censorship in Soviet Lliterature, 1917-1991 (London, 1997), pp. 51-98.

Frolova-Walker, Marina, Stalin's music prize: Soviet culture and politics (New Haven, 2016)

Figes, Orlando, Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (London, 2002), pp. 434-521 (several copies in library)

Gorky, Maxim et al. (eds), Soviet Writers' Congress 1934: the Debate on Socialist Realism and Modernism in the Soviet Union (London, 1977).

Groys, Boris, The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and beyond (Princeton, Oxford, 1992).

Günther, Hans (ed.), The Culture of the Stalin Period (London, 1990).

Lahusen, Thomas, Life Writes the Book: Real Socialism and Socialist Realism in Stalin’s Russia (Ithaca, 1997).

Morgan, Kevin, International Communism and the Cult of the Individual: Leaders, Tribunes and Martyrs under Lenin and Stalin (London, 2017)

Petrone, Karen, ”Life has Become More Joyous, Comrades”: Politics and Culture in Soviet Celebrations, 1934-1939 (Bloomington, 2000).

Pisch, Anita, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929-1953: archetypes, inventions and fabrications (Australian National University Press, 2016)

Plamper, Jan, The Stalin cult: a study in the alchemy of power (Yale, 2012)

Stites, Richard, ‘Stalinism and the Restructuring of Revolutionary Utopianism’, in Günther, Hans (ed.), The Culture of the Stalin Period (London, 1990), pp. 78-94

Taylor, Richard and Derek Spring (eds), Stalinism and Soviet Cinema (Routledge, 1993).