This semester I’m teaching a new course entitled “Sex in Modern Europe,” which I developed on the basis of some research I did a few years ago when co-authoring a book with Annette Timm. The course has seven two-week units: 1) Sex, History, and Theory, 2) Sex, Enlightenment, and Revolution, 3) Sex, Cities, and the Industrial Revolution, 4) Sex and Empire, 5) Sex and Total War, 6) The Long Sexual Revolution, and 7) Sex in Contemporary Europe.
Students absolutely adore all of the fun you can have talking about the cult of Putin. Perhaps none are as fun as this well-known video of “I Want a Man Like Putin.” This particular version includes English subtitles.
I use the video every semester that I teach post-1945 Russian/Soviet history as it follows a few classes after other videos of Boris Yeltsin’s drunken and seemingly senile escapades. This video then encapsulates a part of why Putin and the sober, stable 2000s are so much more popular than Yeltsin and the drunken, chaotic 1990s.
For some time now, I’ve followed and listened with great interest to Marshall Poe‘s terrific series of podcast interviews at New Books in History. Poe, a historian of early modern Russia, interviews a wide variety of historians including many in Russian history. Poe is in the process of launching the New Books Network including a variety of more specialized interview channels with their own hosts. I could not be more pleased to see that Sean Guillory of Sean’s Russia Blog has launched the New Books in Russia and Eurasia channel.
Guillory’s first interview is with J. Arch Getty. They discuss Getty’s 2008 book Ezhov: The Rise of Stalin’s “Iron Fist” (Yale UP, 2008). This series will be an excellent resource for scholars and students alike. Hopefully it will also bring some of the best scholarship in our field to a wider audience.
One of the features I plan for the blog will be my “YouTube of the Week.” I will share many of the videos that I use in my course on the history of the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet world from 1945-present with just a few comments on how I use them. Teaching such recent history allows me to take full advantage of the multi-media available on the web. I use the videos for two reasons. First, I find their entertainment value helps refocus students in the middle of a long class session. Second, though, I use them for their ability to make a point about the history that I am teaching in a way that I cannot through words alone.
This week’s video is one many of you probably have seen, and it is the runaway favorite of my students each semester. It is a sand animation artist on one of those metastasizing reality shows–“Ukraine’s Got Talent”–creating a moving piece of performance art with themes around World War II. No video, no words, no images make clearer the continued importance of that war in the former Soviet Union than this one. The students will (or should) take particular notice of the emotional reactions of audience members. It’s a much longer video than I usually use, but it is worth every second.