In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

541 Ab Imperio, 3/2006 mism, the Russian Orthodox Church may still be able to creatively engage the realities of the post-imperial early twenty-first century. Not every aspect of religious life can be quantified. The children of pious professionals (and they do exist) in ten or twenty years’ time may well have an impact on church life far beyond their present numbers. The quality and quantity of publications on religion (Mitrokhin analyzes only those published directly by the Church) is greater than he suggests . And, depending on how it is handled, re-establishing communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia may bring a breath of freer air to Moscow. Whichever course the Russian Orthodox Church chooses to follow, however, it should take a long look at the problems Mitrokhin describes. And anyone interested in the present and future of the Russian Orthodox Church should do the same. Serhy YEKELCHYK Evgeny Dobrenko and Eric Naiman (Eds.), The Landscape of Stalinism: The Art of Ideology of Soviet Space (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2003). xviii+315 pp., ill. Notes, Bibliography , Index. ISBN: 0-295-98333-7 (hardback edition). The authors and editors of this collection have taken an unorthodox approach to Stalinist culture. There is very little in the book on Socialist Realism, the Zhdanovshchina, or the close ideological supervision of the intelligentsia by Stalin and the party – topics the reader would expect to be covered here. Instead of taking this traditional route, Evgeny Dobrenko and Eric Naiman have brought together a collection of essays examining the notion of space in Stalinist culture, meaning both social and discursive space. There are many ways to approach the spatial dimension of Stalinism: as the actual physical transformation of nature in Stalin’s time, as the utilization of space in Stalinist art, and as the “imaginary geography” of socialism reflected in ideology, art, and everyday life. The authors are primarily concerned with art and ideology, but the reader soon realizes that these three notions of space are analytical categories that may be convenient for later researchers but 542 Рецензии/Reviews are barely distinguishable from each other in Stalinist culture. Portraying, imagining, and building socialism were all parts of the same highly ideological process. In the Introduction Naiman attempts to answer the question editors of all collections find challenging : what do the articles have in common? Certainly not a uniform theoretical or methodological approach , as would have been expected in Stalin’s time, but perhaps the overcoming of disciplinary boundaries and attention to the discursive production of space. Naiman finds a good term for this; he calls the essays “studies of ideological poetics” dealing with “ideology’s attempt to climb into another dimension and transcend the distinction between landscape and space” (P. xiii). Less successful, in my opinion, is the use of Bakhtin’s theory of “chronotope” (a concept of space common to a certain historical period) as a theoretical framework for the book. Only a minority of authors follow Naiman in evoking this theory, and those who do both understand it differently and have diverging opinions on its usefulness . A less fanciful theoretical model – that of relations between the center and the periphery as represented in Stalinist culture – would provide a common ground for most contributors, but the trouble is that they disagree in principle on what this relationship was. Naiman writes, “Nearly all the contributors emphasize the paradoxical centrality of the periphery in the Stalinist landscape” (P. xv), but I beg to differ.Yes, many authors do refer to the periphery’s importance in the imaginary landscape of Stalinism – importance as the center’s “other” or “clean slate” ideal for building the society of the future – yet the majority agrees that the “central” discursive position in Stalinist cultural geography clearly belongs to Moscow. Of course, it would have been surprising, indeed troubling, if the thirteen authors coming from diverse disciplines and living in different countries were to agree on a single theoretical model. The collection’s value lies precisely in the dissimilarity of methodological approaches and theoretical interpretations of the notion of space in Stalinist culture. I also see in a positive light the difficulties the editors apparently had in dividing...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 541-549
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.