The Seminar

The political revolution of 1917 was not the climax of the Bolshevik agenda, but only a point of departure for a more radical program to completely restructure social relations and modes of human experience. Out of this crisis emerged a period of cultural experimentation that was unprecedented in the modern era. This course examines a variety of the utopian projects that flourished in this period. At the same time that we will study the famous artistic avant-gardes whose influence continues to the present day––Futurism, Suprematism, Constructivism, Production Art, and early Soviet Cinema––we will also investigate the everyday contexts that gave sense to these movements: the establishment of communal life, the modernization of experience and sensation, the reorganization of the relations between the sexes, the creation of new codes of conduct, the explosion of the mass media, promethean construction enterprises, the Stalinization of culture, and other topics. Motivating all of these inquiries will be a single question: How can we understand the experiences and self-definition of the new Soviet subject?

The course fulfills the Historical Analysis (HA) requirement and will be graded as follows:

  1. Class participation: 30%
  2. Weekly response papers: 30%
  3. Final project due September 2009: 40%

Click here to view the syllabus.