Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scalar and the Challenge of Writing Media-Rich Scholarship for the Web

Alright, I admit that title was a mouthful.  Basically, I just wanted to alert readers who may not have heard of it that there’s a new, web-based digital authoring tool called Scalar that they may find useful.  It’s an open-source … Continue reading

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Win a beautiful book of posters!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The New Press and offered a copy of their new publication, Koretsky. The Soviet Photo Poster: 1930-1984, for a prize draw to be launched from this site.  This beautiful edition includes 200 … Continue reading

Posted in Russian and Soviet Art, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Communism on Tomorrow Street–some thoughts on egalitarianism and the Soviet social contract

First, I’d like to thank Steve Barnes for organizing this book discussion of Communism on Tomorrow Street, as well as the participants for their commentary thus far. They’ve provided far more food for thought and questions than I can address … Continue reading

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Communism on Tomorrow Street – living, auxiliary and non-living

It gives me great pleasure to read the culmination of Steven E. Harris’s important work on Soviet mass housing, and to crash this Russian History blog party. Two images from this book continue to haunt me. First, dead and living … Continue reading

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Communism on Tomorrow Street – On complaints …and a bit more on “class”

Thanks to Karl Qualls and Mark Smith for the thought-provoking comments that each has contributed to this discussion of Steve Harris’ Communism on Tomorrow Street.  Drawing on his expertise on (re)construction and urban planning, Qualls raised significant questions about the evolution … Continue reading

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Federal Defunding of Russian and Eurasian Studies

I hate to interrupt the fascinating blog conversation on Communism on Tomorrow Street, but I feel it imperative to help spread this distressing news. The U.S. State Department’s Title VIII program has long supported studies of Russia and Eurasia, primarily … Continue reading

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Call for a Wider Perspective

Many thanks to Alexander Geppert, a leading figure in the history of space flight and European culture, for this review of two recent volumes on Russian space flight and culture (in which I and fellow blogger Asif Siddiqi have essays). … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Historiography, Soviet and Russian Space Flight, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mikhalkov as monarchist and Slavophile – his 2010 Manifesto “Right and Truth” (Право и Правда)

In October 2010 influential filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov published an extensive “Manifesto of Enlightened Conservatism” which was published as “Right and Truth” in polit.ru. (Read in Russian here.) The defense of serfdom attributed to Mikhalkov, which I posted yesterday, may well … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russia in World History, Russian History in Popular Culture, Russian Orthodoxy, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov Praises the “Wisdom of Serfdom”

According to a website called “Tsenzor.Net” filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov told a group of journalists that he is preparing to make a film praising serfdom as “the wisdom of the nation.” His comments show a romanticization of history that is pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Current events in the Putin Era, Films, Historiography, Imperial Russia, Nostalgia and Memory, Post-Soviet Russia, Russian History in Popular Culture, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Open Access: The Summer Research Lab at Illinois

As a footnote to last month’s discussion on access, I wanted to put in a plug for our annual Summer Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Obviously, nothing is as cheap or convenient as reading on your own computer … Continue reading

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Open Access: A Response to Sean Guillory

My most recent blog post (on MOOCs) dealt with digital teaching. Less than a week after it appeared, Sean Guillory wrote an important piece on Sean’s Russia Blog regarding digital scholarship, to wit, the importance of open access for Russian … Continue reading

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MOOCs and the Future of Russian History in America

At the most recent Slavic Studies convention, I was talking with an old friend about the advent of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). We teach similar courses at different institutions – he teaches at a university with global name recognition, … Continue reading

Posted in Digital Russian History, Teaching Russian History, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Soviet Baby Boomers-My Differences with Sergei Zhuk on the Methodology of Oral History

Sergei Zhuk and I have a different take on the purpose and merits of oral history.  As he put it, “I have some doubts about a reliability of the personal interviews as only one, primary source for the historical study.”  … Continue reading

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Soviet Baby Boomers-Clarifying My Views about Class

I thank Miriam for returning to the issue of class and to my terse remark about it in my posting in response to Catriona’s comments. I apologize for not being clear: I did not intend to suggest that class is … Continue reading

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Soviet Baby Boomers-Some Reflections on Catriona Kelly’s Remarks

Catriona raised some interesting points that I’d like to address. As she suggests, the uniqueness of oral testimonies lies in the fact that the investigator, in collaboration with his/her subjects, creates the sources—not the memories—upon which the historian’s work is … Continue reading

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Soviet Baby Boomers-Generation as an Analytical Category

I wish to thank the participants in this discussion for taking time in their busy schedules, not only to read my book, but also to share their impressions of it and to raise questions. I’m honored that such an esteemed … Continue reading

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Soviet Baby Boomers – The Noise of a Generation

Soviet baby-boomers were, like their counterparts in the US and Western Europe, what Bernd Weisbrod has termed a ‘noisy generation’. In Russia, the term ‘1970-ers’ is probably more familiar. Among those who have proclaimed the importance of their experience (while  … Continue reading

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Soviet Baby Boomers- What’s a generation?

I know I won’t shock anyone by admitting that I often ask myself “why?” when reading an academic monograph: why this topic, why this approach and yes, why this book? Reading Don Raleigh’s Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Nostalgia and Memory, Soviet Baby Boomers, Soviet Era 1917-1991, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The meaning of 1991: Some thoughts on oral history

“Could you explain in what ways life before and after 1991 was different?” I asked. My interviewee, Z. did not immediately understand my question, even when reformulated in clearer Russian by a native colleague. The question seemed alien to her. … Continue reading

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Calling All Eurasians

To return to a theme from my previous post, I thought I’d mention that the University of Illinois’s Brittle Books Project–a long term initiative meant to save books subject to slow fire and other maladies–has taken a digital turn.  Some … Continue reading

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