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Heterotopias of the Seminar
This book examines the eastern European seminar of the late 1980s and early 1990s-an ongoing academic meeting place outside the formal rubric of the university-tracing its evolution into a social movement on the street and identifying the political force of the theoretical conversations that took place there. It also shows how these theories reflect the loss of socialist idealisms and established materialist frameworks that eventually evolved into a set of heterotopic visions with a fundamentally altered sense of materialism. It provides both glimpses of a genuinely alternative world to the Western academy that its denizens are so prone to critique, one in which oral discourse and dialogism were especially prominent values, and a utopian view of the Western intellectual world from that now-lost space.
Encounters and Extensions
Society, Culture, & the Politics of Modern Russia. Essays in Honor of Allan K. Wildman
Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960
Eastern European prefabricated housing blocks are often vilified as the visible manifestations of everything that was wrong with state socialism. For many inside and outside the region, the uniformity of these buildings became symbols of the dullness and drudgery of everyday life. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity complicates this common perception. Analyzing the cultural, intellectual, and professional debates surrounding the construction of mass housing in early postwar Czechoslovakia, Zarecor shows that these housing blocks served an essential function in the planned economy and reflected an interwar aesthetic, derived from constructivism and functionalism, that carried forward into the 1950s. With a focus on prefabricated and standardized housing built from 1945 to 1960, Zarecor offers broad and innovative insights into the country’s transition from capitalism to state socialism. She demonstrates that during this shift, architects and engineers consistently strove to meet the needs of Czechs and Slovaks despite challenging economic conditions, a lack of material resources, and manufacturing and technological limitations. In the process, architects were asked to put aside their individual creative aspirations and transform themselves into technicians and industrial producers. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity is the first comprehensive history of architectural practice and the emergence of prefabricated housing in the Eastern Bloc. Through discussions of individual architects and projects, as well as building typologies, professional associations, and institutional organization, it opens a rare window into the cultural and economic life of Eastern Europe during the early postwar period.
Gender, Class, and Capitalism in the Czech Republic
Drawing on a rich trove of focus group data, interviews, and textual sources, Elaine Weiner's Market Dreams powerfully captures the varied responses of female managers and factory workers in the Czech Republic to their country's transition from socialism to capitalism. Her work, rooted in sociology and comparative feminism, is an important advance for the literature on women in Eastern Europe. "Market Dreams is a conceptually-sophisticated and empirically-rich account of how the discourses and practices of the free market penetrated the hearts and minds of everyday Czech citizens. Weiner's provocative analysis takes readers inside the worlds of female factory workers to expose the discontinuities between their radiant market dreams and their everyday realities--and juxtaposes them to the continuities experienced by female managers. In the process, it challenges many of our ideas about post/socialism, marketization, and gender and reveals the enduring power of stories in shaping social identities and actions." ---Lynne Haney, Associate Professor of Sociology, New York University "Through interviews and a careful analysis of newspaper articles written in the first decade after the collapse of state socialism, Weiner explores the complicated interconnections between personal stories and the emerging neoliberal metanarrative of the free market in the Czech Republic after 1989. Her book transcends many of the dichotomies with which researchers of post-state socialism have been struggling: 'East' vs. 'West,' losers and winners, emancipation vs. oppression, etc., and thus makes a truly novel contribution to our understanding of women's lives after state socialism." ---Éva Fodor, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, Central European University "Weiner's rich and innovative study of female Czech managers and workers exemplifies the importance of narrative analysis for understanding why gender and class have not (yet) reconfigured the sense of postcommunism's alternatives. This is critical reading for feminists, class analysts, and students of postcommunist social change." ---Michael Kennedy, Director, Center for European Studies, University of Michigan Elaine Weiner is Assistant Professor of Sociology at McGill University. Visit the author's website at: www.mcgill.ca/sociology/faculty/weiner/. Cover Credit: Frank Scherschel/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria
Gerald W. Creed analyzes contemporary mumming rituals in rural Bulgaria for what they reveal about life after socialism -- and the current state of postsocialist studies. Mumming rituals have flourished in the post-Soviet era. Elaborately costumed dancers go from house to house demanding sustenance and bestowing blessings. Through the analysis of these rites, Creed critiques key themes in postsocialist studies, including understandings of civil society and democracy, gender and sexuality, autonomy and community, and ethnicity and nationalism. He argues that these events reveal indigenous cultural resources that could have been used both practically and intellectually to ease the postsocialist reconstruction of Bulgarian society, but were not.
The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989
Twenty years in the making, this collection presents 122 top-level Soviet, European and American records on the superpowers’ role in the annus mirabilis of 1989. Consisting of Politburo minutes; diary entries from Gorbachev’s senior aide, Anatoly Chernyaev; meeting notes and private communications of Gorbachev with George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand; and high-level CIA analyses, this volume offers a rare insider’s look at the historic, world-transforming events that culminated in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War. Most of these records have never been published before.
Culture and Survival in Revolutionary Times
Barbara Walker examines the Russian literary circle, a feature of Russian intellectual and cultural life from tsarist times into the early Soviet period, through the life story of one of its liveliest and most adored figures, the poet Maximilian Voloshin (1877--1932). From 1911 until his death, Voloshin led a circle in the Crimean village of Koktebel' that was a haven for such literary luminaries as Marina Tsvetaeva, Nikolai Gumilev, and Osip Mandelstam. Drawing upon the anthropological theories of Victor Turner, Walker depicts the literary circle of late Imperial Russia as a contradictory mix of idealism and "communitas," on the one hand, and traditional Russian patterns of patronage and networking, on the other. While detailing the colorful history of Voloshinov's circle in the pre- and postrevolutionary decades, the book demonstrates that the literary circle and its leaders played a key role in integrating the intelligentsia into the emerging ethos of the Soviet state.
At a time when religious conflicts and persecution plagued early modern Europe, Poland and Prussia were havens for Mennonites and other religious minorities. Noted Anabaptist scholar Peter J. Klassen examines this extraordinary example of religious tolerance. Through extensive archival research in Poland, Germany, and the Netherlands, Klassen unearths rich material that has rarely, if ever, been studied previously. He demonstrates how the interaction of religious, political, and economic factors created a situation in Poland and Prussia that permitted a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia focuses on the large Mennonite community in these countries. Klassen reveals how the Anabaptist groups were treated and explores whether the uncommon religious freedom they enjoyed gave rise to a flourishing of their faith or a falling away from its central tenets. Early modern Poland and Prussia are virtually ignored in most studies of the Reformation. Klassen brings them to light and life by focusing on an unusual oasis of tolerance in the midst of a Europe convulsed by the wars of religion.
Claudia R. Jensen presents the first unified study of musical culture in the court and church of Muscovite Russia. Spanning the period from the installation of Patriarch Iov in 1589 to the beginning of Peter the Great's reign in 1694, her book offers detailed accounts of the celebratory musical performances for Russia's first patriarch -- events that were important displays of Russian piety and power. Jensen emphasizes music's varied roles in Muscovite society and the equally varied opinions and influences surrounding it. In an attempt to demystify what has previously been an enigma to Western readers, she paints a clear picture of the dazzling splendor of musical performances and the ways in which 17th-century Muscovites employed music for spiritual enlightenment as well as entertainment.