March 1, 2022
12 b&w illus., 9 b&w tables
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6.00 Inches (US)
1.41 Pounds (US)
$85.00 USD, £66.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
March 1, 2022
12 b&w illus., 9 b&w tables
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.04 Pounds (US)
$35.00 USD, £27.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Rethinking the Gulag

Identities, Sources, Legacies

The Soviet Gulag was one of the largest, most complex, and deadliest systems of incarceration in the 20th century. What lessons can we learn from its network of labor camps and prisons and exile settlements, which stretched across vast geographic expanses, included varied institutions, and brought together inmates from all the Soviet Union's ethnicities, professions, and social classes?

Drawing on a massive body of documentary evidence, Rethinking the Gulag: Identities, Sources, Legacies explores the Soviet penal system from various disciplinary perspectives. Divided into three sections, the collection first considers "identities"—the lived experiences of contingents of detainees who have rarely figured in Gulag histories to date, such as common criminals and clerics. The second section surveys "sources" to explore the ways new research methods can revolutionize our understanding of the system. The third section studies "legacies" to reveal the aftermath of the Gulag, including the folk beliefs and traditions it has inspired and the museums built to memorialize it. While all the chapters respond to one another, each section also concludes with a reaction by a leading researcher: geographer Judith Pallot, historian Lynne Viola, and cultural historian and literary scholar Alexander Etkind.

Moving away from grand metaphorical or theoretical models, Rethinking the Gulag instead unearths the complexities and nuances of experience that represent a primary focus in the new wave of Gulag studies.

About the Authors

Alan Barenberg is the Buena Vista Foundation Associate Professor of History at Texas Tech University. He is author of Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta. Emily D. Johnson is the Brian and Sandra O'Brien Presidential Professor of Russian at the University of Oklahoma. She is author of How St. Petersburg Learned to Study Itself: The Russian Idea of Kraevedenie and editor and translator of Gulag Letters by Arsenii Formakov.


"Rethinking the Gulag brings together an interdisciplinary group of authors working at the absolute cutting edge of scholarship on the history, literature, and legacy of the infamous Soviet forced labor system. The chapters are polished, intricately researched and argued pieces that come together to create the single best edited collection of work on the Gulag to date."—Steven Barnes, George Mason University

"This is a first-rate, innovative, and wide-ranging volume that promises to make a major contribution to Gulag scholarship. It covers a great variety of aspects of the Gulag, and an unprecedented range of methodologies, including cutting-edge digital approaches."—Polly Jones, University of Oxford

"Rethinking the Gulag combines groundbreaking interdisciplinary research and innovative methodologies to illuminate under-studied aspects of Gulag history, culture, and legacy, introduced with an enlightening essay on the evolution of Gulag studies by the volume's editors, professors Alan Barenberg and Emily D. Johnson. It opens new vistas and establishes new standards for Gulag studies. It is one of those rare contributions that is both a must-read for researchers and eminently appropriate for the classroom."—Diane Nemec-Ignashev, Carleton College
Indiana University Press


9780253059628 : rethinking-the-gulag-barenberg-johnson-etkind
320 Pages
$85.00 USD
9780253059611 : rethinking-the-gulag-barenberg-johnson-etkind
Paperback / softback
320 Pages
$35.00 USD

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