History | J400 2764 Culture & Society-Soviet Union 3:30-5:30P T WH118 Veidlinger
J400 | 2764 | Veidlinger J
J400: for history majors only
Above section COAS intensive writing section and also
requires registration in COAS W333
The Soviet state strived for totalitarian control over the lives of its
citizens. Although it was never able to attain such complete control, its
citizens were effectively barred from expressing themselves through
political forums. Yet the Soviet experience has shown that the human
spirit, individual creativity, and social interaction cannot be completely
suppressed. Despite the state's control of cultural and social
institutions, Soviet citizens managed to carve out a space for themselves in
which they could continue to enjoy the pleasures of life.
This course will examine the culture and society of the Soviet Union. We
will see how Soviet citizens expressed themselves through cultural pursuits.
We will watch and analyze popular (and not-so-popular) Soviet films, read
selections of the literature Soviet citizens read as well as the literature
they were not allowed to read, listed to the music they enjoyed, recreate
the theater they loved, and examine the art they produced. We will also
examine daily life in the Soviet Union. We will see how people adapted to
perpetual shortages, turned their kitchens into a public sphere, and
generally responded to their environment.
Students will be required to produce a research paper and give a
presentation to the class.
Required Readings: Richard Stites, Russian Popular Culture; James von
Geldern and Richard Stites, Mass Culture in Soviet Russia (book and
cassette); Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism; Camilla Gray, The Russian
Experiment in Art; Lydia Chukovskaia, Sofia Petrovna.