In English. No prerequisites.
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:484:01 and History 01:510:484:01
The death of the Soviet utopian project has been one of the most consequential events in the history of the twentieth century. But when did it start to die? In 1956, within three years of his demise, Khrushchev denounced Stalin as a mass murderer and the would-be demonic undertaker of the Soviet political dream. How was post-Stalinist society supposed to make sense of its bloody past? This question defined late Soviet culture and was partly responsible for the Soviet collapse. Today, the legacy of Stalinism continues to haunt post-Soviet Russia. Our seminar will engage with the problem of post-Stalinism in Russia by approaching it in two modules. In the first half of the course, we will examine several powerful fictional texts and films that have defined the post-Stalin era, from 1950s onwards. In the second half of the course, we will examine a number of non-fictional and theoretical texts on Stalinism and its aftermath. These dual lines of inquiry will allow us to flesh out the recent past of Russian culture and politics, and to trace the limits of the post-Stalin era’s influence in Russia today.
All readings and discussions in English. No prerequisites.