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Suggested Essay Questions

In revolutionary Russia, ‘the human body became a principal site for utopian speculations’ (Toby Clark). Discuss.

How far did science represent the main tool for creating the Soviet new man?

In early Soviet Russia, health was a matter of ‘survival, duty and political change’ (Tricia Starks). Discuss.

‘Early Soviet Russia was a society seemingly obsessed with sex’ (Frances Bernstein). Discuss.

How far do you agree that ‘women served as a convenient metaphor for describing the flaws of the revolution’ (Tricia Starks)?

How far did the USSR succeed in creating ‘socialist senses’?

Did the five-year plans produce or destroy the bodies of Soviet workers?

How did Stalinist culture seek to shape the ideal socialist body?

How might we explain what Lilya Kaganovsky has called ‘the ideological and cultural fantasy of Stalinism: the radical dismemberment of its male subjects’?

‘Bolshevik aspiration to cultivate a socialist society, and as part of that, to cultivate each individual, envisioned violence’ (Peter Holquist). Discuss.

How did the physical and sensory experiences of the Great Fatherland War disrupt the narrative of the New Soviet Person?

How did bodies bear witness to the violence and trauma of the Stalin era?

Following Khrushchev’s rejection of Stalinist violence, how did late Soviet leaders seek to shape the ideal body?

How did fantasies of the body change in the era of advanced technology?

How far was the ‘stagnation’ of late socialism inscribed on the Soviet body?

The reforms of glasnost brought with them a rediscovery of the ‘real’ body. Discuss.