The Landscape of Stalinism
The Art and Ideology of Soviet Space
From backgrounds in history, art history, literary studies, and philosophy, the contributors show how Soviet space was sanctified, coded, and “sold” as an ideological product. They explore the ways in which producers of various art forms used space to express what Katerina Clark calls “a cartography of power” -- an organization of the entire country into “a hierarchy of spheres of relative sacredness,” with Moscow at the center. The theme of center versus periphery figures prominently in many of the essays, and the periphery is shown often to be paradoxically central.
Examining representations of space in objects as diverse as postage stamps, a hikers’ magazine, advertisements, and the Soviet musical, the authors show how cultural producers attempted to naturalize ideological space, to make it an unquestioned part of the worldview. Whether focusing on the new or the centuries-old, whether exploring a built cityscape, a film documentary, or the painting Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin, the authors offer a consistently fascinating journey through the landscape of the Soviet ideological imagination.
Not all features of Soviet space were entirely novel, and several of the essayists assert continuities with the prerevolutionary past. One example is the importance of the mother image in mass songs of the Stalin period; another is the "boundless longing" inspired in the Russian character by the burden of living amid vast empty spaces. But whether focusing on the new or the centuries-old, whether exploring a built cityscape, a film documentary, or the painting Stalin and Voroshilov in the Kremlin, the authors offer a consistently fascinating journey through the landscape of the Soviet ideological imagination.
About the Authors
"Offering a variety of perspectives on Russian culture of the Stalin period (from theoretical musings to down—to—earth archival historical research) and ranging in subject matter from the popular song, postage stamps, hikers magazines, and musicals to monumental architecture, film travelogues, Stalinist Bildungsroman, and the archetypal Moscow Metro, the collection should be used widely by students of modern Russian culture and politics."—Gregory Freidin, Stanford University
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