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Late Stalinism: the Aesthetics of Politics

Dates:
  • Wed 31 Oct 2018 14.30 - 16.30
  Add to Calendar 2018-10-31 14:30 2018-10-31 16:30 Europe/Paris Late Stalinism: the Aesthetics of Politics

In the framework of the HEC Department Colloquium and the History and Memory Lecture Series

Many observers of Stalinism consider its culmination to be the era of the Great Terror. However, if one places its events into the context of all of Soviet history, not just that of the Stalin era, the historical “dramaturgy” changes. It becomes clear that late Stalinism (1945-56) was by far not the dénouement. After all, the formation of the Soviet nation was in fact only completed with the victory in WWII, when the Soviet imperial project became truly worldwide and when the most important inoculations of nationalism—without looking back to Marxist internationalism—were made. In this era, specifically, the key parameters of the new nation were not only laid out but finally took root in the Soviet mentality and culture. In the history of Cold War it was also a formative period and the complex ideological and cultural constructs were created, direct political actions were taken in literature, theatre, music, philosophy linguistics, natural sciences, international policy, since the Cold War needed to be ideologically packaged. They were simply not publicly usable without ideological and cultural dimensions. The best way to make it usable is to run it through literary, musical, visual - in a word, art forms through which they can be consumed. Hence the role of "culture" as the major political tool. The link between cultural politics and political culture is central to the project. It aims to produce cultural and intellectual history of one of the least studied periods of Soviet history, late Stalinism, the era in which the shaping of the Soviet nation was completed. And at the same time this history is told in a special way, through the analysis of its very products. Or, to put it differently, it is not a narrative about culture but a historical narrative based on close readings of cultural texts themselves.

Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati

In the framework of the HEC Department Colloquium and the History and Memory Lecture Series

Many observers of Stalinism consider its culmination to be the era of the Great Terror. However, if one places its events into the context of all of Soviet history, not just that of the Stalin era, the historical “dramaturgy” changes. It becomes clear that late Stalinism (1945-56) was by far not the dénouement. After all, the formation of the Soviet nation was in fact only completed with the victory in WWII, when the Soviet imperial project became truly worldwide and when the most important inoculations of nationalism—without looking back to Marxist internationalism—were made. In this era, specifically, the key parameters of the new nation were not only laid out but finally took root in the Soviet mentality and culture. In the history of Cold War it was also a formative period and the complex ideological and cultural constructs were created, direct political actions were taken in literature, theatre, music, philosophy linguistics, natural sciences, international policy, since the Cold War needed to be ideologically packaged. They were simply not publicly usable without ideological and cultural dimensions. The best way to make it usable is to run it through literary, musical, visual - in a word, art forms through which they can be consumed. Hence the role of "culture" as the major political tool. The link between cultural politics and political culture is central to the project. It aims to produce cultural and intellectual history of one of the least studied periods of Soviet history, late Stalinism, the era in which the shaping of the Soviet nation was completed. And at the same time this history is told in a special way, through the analysis of its very products. Or, to put it differently, it is not a narrative about culture but a historical narrative based on close readings of cultural texts themselves.


Location:
Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Speaker:
Evgeny Dobrenko (Fernand Braudel Fellow/University of Sheffield)

Organiser:
Jorge Flores (European University Institute)
Stephane Van Damme (European University Institute)

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