History 241W-000: Topics in History and Text Intimacy and Terror

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History 241W-000: Topics in History and Text

Intimacy and Terror

TuThFr, 1:00-1:55

Candler Library 121

Spring 2015
Prof. Matt Payne

119 Bowden

Office Hours: Wednesday, 2:00-3:30


Intimacy and Terror is a course offering that explores the repressions of the Soviet totalitarianism through the experience of those who lived through it. Taking a humanistic approach towards such traumatic historical events as the Stalin Revolution, the Terror Famine, forced labor camps (the Gulag), the Great Terror, the horrors of World War and the Cult of Personality, this course will focus on autobiography, memoirs, letters, diaries and other, deeply personal texts to understand how average Soviet citizens dealt with the repercussions of Stalinism. While excellent background works such as Figes, The Whisperers will be provided, our primary source material in the class will be on witnesses to this history, not its interpreters. We will read texts or excerpts from persons as diverse as a Kazakh nomad and a Gulag camp commandant, the diary of a Communist true believer and the diary of a rebellious schoolgirl, the account of a political prisoner (zek) and the interviews of an architect of terror. We will also sample contemporary film (and later) film, poetry and fiction to understand the heavy burden Soviet citizens bore for living in the first socialist society. Too often the story of Stalinism is reduced to vast generalities and stereotypes of a soulless state machinery that ground down an atomized society. In fact, each event of repression, each grandiose project or mind-numbing statistic related to real people, both as victims and perpetrators (not rarely, both). The course is a 4-credit, writing intensive course and meets the College HUM and post-freshman writing GERs.
Requirements and Grading

  • Participation: Students are expected to attend all class lectures and discussions. Everyone will do all the required readings and assignments each week and students will be expected to discuss the weekly themes and topics cogently. 15%pipe.bmp

  • Discussion Responses: One-to-two page post to Black Board responding to each week's assigned readings. Proper grammar and style are required as well as historical analysis—not simply summation. In other words, you must put your response in context, not simply rely on the text. The posted responses should be read by all students prior to discussion class. All responses should be posted by 9:00 pm on the evening prior to discussion (normally Thursday night unless otherwise noted in the syllabus) to our Blackboard conference (via Safe-Assign). Failure to post on time will lead to a failing grade on the assignment. 20%

  • Mid-Term Exam: A mid-term take-home essay examination on the readings and class discussions will be due via “Safe-Assign” on Blackboard by Monday, March 2nd. The essay questions will be available via Blackboard on Monday, February 23rd. The students will respond to one of two possible questions and will produce a 5-7 page well-written essay that integrates our secondary works and primary texts on the topic. 25%

  • Final Research Paper: The final written assignment will consist of a research paper or interpretive essay of not less than 12 pages, which will permit students to explore in-depth one of the texts discussed in class. Students must work with one of our primary texts but also put that text into historical, social and political context. In other words, any student choosing Kelly's Comrade Pavlik would need to put this text in the context of collectivization and dekulakization. Any student working with Grossman's A Writer at War would need to address the larger environment of the Great Patriotic War or the Battle of Stalingrad. Our shorter texts are also permissible as a basis of the final paper but will probably either involve reading beyond the extracts provided in class or supplemental autobiographical texts. This class if focused on the individual's response to terrifying times and the final research paper will serve to test your ability to independently analyze that experience. Students will hand in the papers in lieu of our final exam on Wednesday, Wednesday, May 6th (by 1:30 p.m.). Prior to this deadline, students will submit a brief proposal (topic, texts, bibliography) to Dr. Payne on Friday, March 6th and meet with him over the course of the next week (meetings to be scheduled independently of office hours) to discuss the feasibility of their topics. Mandatory draft papers are due on Tuesday, April 14th via Blackboard (I will return these with comments on Monday, April 20th). These assignments are also noted on the class schedule (below). All written assignments will be submitted through Blackboard and anti-plagiarism software applied to them. Please do not infringe on the Honor Code, as such actions will result in a referral to Honor Council. 40%

Course Policies


  • Attendance: Class attendance is mandatory and unexcused absences will be detrimental to the class participation grade (five unexcused absences will lead to automatic failure in the classroom participation grade). .

  • Classroom Participation: Discussion is also important, and your willingness to contribute to discussion class will be reflected in your participation grade. Education is not a spectator sport, please be responsive when called on and prepared to discuss the texts.

  • Extensions: Students must complete course work on time or arrange, before the assignment is due, an extension with the instructor. Late assignments will be marked down.

  • Grading: The principles of grading in this class are succinct and clear.

    • In those assignments that are brief (discussion responses, pop quizzes [should they become necessary due to a lack of reading the texts!]), grades will be a check (√) or a check minus (√-). The final mark on this particular portion of your grade will simply be a cumulating of all checks versus all possible checks (so, if you get a check on 12 of 13 discussion responses that would be a 92% on your discussion response grade).

    • On more substantial assignments such as exams, oral exams or the final paper, there are various criteria which are examined (I will provide a matrix of my grading criteria on Blackboard).

      • In general, however, if you have mastered the material, than you can expect a B.

      • If you have mastered the material and can present an independent analysis of it (history is an interpretive discipline, not the regurgitation of names and dates!), than you will receive an A.

      • C is the mark for those who have not mastered the material.

      • D is reserved for those who clearly do not understand the material at all.

      • F is an option, but only to those students who willfully refuse to do the work or make an attempt to understand the subject.

  • General Email policy: Prof. Payne reviews email daily during the work week but not necessarily more than once or twice daily (usually in the morning and late evening). Please be patient, especially with learn-link communications. I’m not Google!

  • Other Resources: The Writing Center provides individualized mentoring on exposition provided by a gifted cadre of mentors. Their sessions are rewarding and beneficial even to accomplished writers. For more information and to schedule an appointment see: http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/WC/

  • Note on College Writing Requirements: This course does fulfill the College post-freshman writing requirement. As is appropriate for a writing-intensive class, fully 85% of your grade will be based on writing proficiency. Late work will be penalized unless prior arrangements are made with the Professor for an extension, so please plan accordingly. These assignments are quite manageable if you plan accordingly (i.e., keep up with the reading, budget time, prepare drafts, etc.)

  • Honor Code: As in all Emory classes, the strictures of the honor code apply. Infractions of the honor code, especially cheating and plagiarism, will be handled with the greatest possible severity. We will be using anti-plagiarism software associated with Blackboard, so please do not tempt fate.




  1. Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia (Picador, 2008). ISBN-13: 9780312428037. $24.00.

  2. Wendy Z. Goldman, Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2011). ISBN-13: 9780521145626. $31.00

  3. Catriona Kelly, Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero (Granta UK, 2007). ISBN-13: 9781862078451. $17.95.


  1. Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror; Soviet Diaries of the 1930s, (The New Press, 1997). ISBN-13: 9781565843981. $18.95.

  2. Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind (Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt, 2003). ISBN-13: 9780156027519. $16.95.

  3. Nina Lugovskaia, I Want to Live!: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin’s Russia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007) ISBN-13: 9780618605750. $17.00

  4. Fyordor Mochulsky, Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir (Oxford University Press) ISBN-13: 9780199934867. $19.95.

  5. Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, Silent Steppe (Overlook/Rookery, 2007) ISBN-13: 9781585679553. $35.00.

Class Schedule
Week 1: Introduction—The Political is Personal

Tuesday, 1/13: Introduction

Thursday, 1/15:


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. xxvii-xxxviii.

Irena Paperno, "Personal Accounts of the Soviet Experience," Kritika 3/4 (Autumn 2002): 577-610. (On reserve)

Friday, 1/16:


"Introduction," in Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror, xi-xviii.


"Chronicle of the Year 1937," in Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror, 11-66.
Recommended Readings:

Alexander Etkind, "Soviet Subjectivity: Torture for the Sake of Salvation?" Kritika 6/1 (Winter 2005): 171-186.

Igal Halfin, Red Autobiographies: Initiating the Bolshevik Self.

Jochin Hellbeck, "Self-Realization in the Stalinist System: Two Soviet Diaries of the 1930s," in M. Hildermeier, ed., Stalinisimus vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg: neue Wege der Forschung (Munich, 1998), pp. 275-290.

Adam Hochschild, The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin.

Anna Krylova, "The Tenacious Liberal Subject in Soviet Studies," Kritika 1/1 (2000): 119-46.


Week 2: The Problem of Self in Revolutionary Russia

Tuesday, 1/20:

SECONDARY READING: Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 1-75.

Thursday, 1/22:

TEXT: Mikhail Baitalsky, "Notebook I," Notebooks for the Grandchildren; Recollections of a Trotskyist Who Survived the Stalin Terror, pp. 51-76. (On reserve)

Friday, 1/23:

TEXT: Sofiya Volkonskaia, "The Way of Bitterness," In The Shadow of Revolution, Fitzpatrick and Sleazkin, eds., pp. 140-167. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

How, according to Figes, did the Soviet regime obliterate the distinction between the private and the public, the intimate and the political following the Revolution? What was expected of Communist consciousness and how were institutions used to inculcate the new values? How did some, such as Mikhail Baitalsky, embrace this new mentality? Others, such as Sofiya Volkonskaia, who was married to a class enemy and therefore was a "former person," found it impossible to embrace the new personal transparency. How did she dissemble for herself and her husband? How was the split between Volkonskaia and Baitalsky as much generational as political?

Research Assignment:

Please identify three entries in The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History [DK14 .M6], its supplement or the The Modern Encyclopedia of East Slavic, Baltic and Eurasian Literatures [PG2940 .M6 INDEX V.1-10] that discuss topics of interest to you concerning the class subject. . Submit a short summary of whether you believe this is a workable topic for you. The form of your submission should be the citation and then one or two sentences on the topics feasibility. In other words, “The Gulag: The subject is fascinating to me but seeing the vast amount of memoirist and secondary literature on the topic, I think I need to narrow down the topic, perhaps to Kolyma.” Or, “I really like the idea of writing on one person, such as Anna Akhmatova or Osip Mandelshtam and Hope Against Hope seems like a good memoir to consider both.” Remember, only three topics and spend some time exploring the various entries.


Recommended Readings:

Oleg Kharkhordin, The Collective and the Individual in Russia: A Study of Practices.

Igal Halfin, "From Darkness to Light: Student Communist Autobiographies of the 1920s," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, heft 2, (1997), pp.210-236.

David Hoffmann, Stalinist Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity, 1917-1941.

Week 3: Before the Storm

Tuesday, 1/27: kommunalkakrokodil.gif

SECONDARY READING: Svetlana Boym, "The Archeology of Banality: The Soviet Home," Public Culture 6/2 (1994): 263-292. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Research Assignment Due.

Thursday, 1/29:

SECONDARY READING: Catriona Kelly, "Making a Home on the Neva," in St. Petersburg: Shadows of the Past (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014) [ISBN-10: 0300169193], pp. 63-92. (30 of 488 or 6%) (On reserve)

TEXT: Paola Messana, chs. 1-2, “Uplotnenie: Filling Up” and “White Army, Red Army,” in Soviet Communal Living: An Oral History of the Kommunalka (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) [ISBN-10: 0230110169] pp. 7-15 (9 of 184 or 5%). (On reserve).

Friday, 1/31:

TEXT: Mikhail Zoshchenko, Nervous People and Other Stories (“Nervous People,” “The Lady Aristocrat,” “The Bathhouse,” “Dog Scent,” “A Summer’s Breather,” “The Tsar’s Boots”), pp. 124-136, 162-165, 170-172 (On reserve).

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

Consider the stories in Mikhail Zoshchenko’s Nervous People. What is the urban, post civil-war experience for the run-of-the-mill Soviet citizen? What insights does Boym present about the habitus—the lived environment in which Soviet citizens experienced the regime—of the Soviet cities which shaped people's mentalities? How did the kommunalka (communal apartment) create a nation of whisperers (see Kelly and Messana as well)? What was krugovaia poruka and why was it such a powerful tool of social control? How did people try to hold onto some vestige of individuality? Which of Zoshchenko-s stories is most illustrative of the fear of transparency in the kommunalka?

Research Assignment:

Using Euclid, identify three scholarly monographs that represent a good, scholarly resource for studying your topic of interest. A monograph is a scholarly, peer-reviewed book (usually put out by a major university press) that focuses on one subject rather than trying to create a syncretic overview of a subject, such as a textbook. Thus, Catriona Kelly's, Comrade Pavlik; The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero, is appropriate but Moshe Lewin's The Soviet Century would not. Memoirs, letters, etc., since they are primary sources, would also not apply. Thus, von Geldern's and Stites, Mass Culture in Soviet Russia, would not be a good choice. Please physically examine the monograph by going to Woodruff stacks and write up you observations of each based on a quick skim. For example, “Jochin Hellbeck's Revolution on My Mind is a very detailed discussion of young communist diary writers like Stepan Podliubny. I think his book will really put in context why people wrote diaries in a society that prosecuted thought crimes.”

Recommended Readings:

Svetlana Boym, Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia.

Christina Kiaer, Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the Revolution Inside.

Jukka Gronow, ed., Caviar with Champagne: Common Luxury and the Ideals of the Good Life in Stalin's Russia.

Anne E. Gorsuch, Flappers and Foxtrotters: Soviet Youth in the "Roaring Twenties."

Week 4: The Great Break—Communism Goes on the Offensive

Tuesday, 2/3:magnitogorsh


Mark Edele, "Forces of Destruction," Stalinist Society, 1928-1953, ch. 2, pp. 37-54. (On reserve)

Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 136-147, 111-122, 192-207.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, "Making a Self for the Times: Impersonation and Imposture in 20th-Century Russia," Kritika 2/3 (Summer 2001), pp. 469-487. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Research Assignment Due.

Thursday, 2/5:


Lewis Siegelbaum, Stalinism as a Way of Life, ch. 1, “The Socialist Offensive”, pp. 27-39, 59-82. (On reserve)

"The Stalin White Sea-Baltic Canal; The History of Its Construction (1934)," in James von Geldern and Richard Pipes, eds, Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays and Folklore, 1917-1953, pp. 190-201. (On reserve)

Friday, 2/6:

TEXT: John Scott, Behind the Urals, ch. 2 (“A Day in Magnitogorsk”), pp. 9-51. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Questions (chose one):

  1. What was the "Great Break"? With reference to the discussion by Edele of the "socialist offensive," how did Stalin's policies fundamentally break the tenuous class peace of the NEP and impose "hard times" on the Soviet people? Look at the excerpt from Scott (an American at the great construction of Magnitogorsk) and the documents collected by Siegelbaum—how was the socialist offensive the literal equivalent of war for the regime and its society? What was the GULag and how did the state use it not only for construction but "reforging"? Why did Simonov, in particular, need to believe in this myth of reforging?

  2. In an environment of vicious class purges and the rise of a vast punitive apparatus in the GULag (see Siegelbaum's documents) why was "working on the self" such an important endeavor? Figes highlights the stories of Simonov and Podliubny, both of whom tried to meet the expectations of the regime to become "New Soviet Men." Why would victims of the regime identify with its goals? Note, however, as Fitzpatrick points out, too many people had a damaged biography not to "reinvent" themselves in more devious ways. Engaging Fitzpatrick's argument, as well as that of Antonina Golovina's story, how did imposture and living a "dual life" come to dominate Soviet private life rather than the transparency so desired by the Bolsheviks?

Research Assignment:

Using the database function of Euclid, use three data bases to search for scholarly articles appropriate for your topic. Three good choices would be the American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies (ABSEES), JSTOR, and Historical Abstracts. Cull three good articles from each and examine them. For each data base give me a sentence or two on its advantages and disadvantages for your research agenda. For example, "I found the Humanities Abstracts to be quite difficult to use and found little of interest. However, JSTOR gave me a very good article on Podliubny by Hellbeck, especially after I selected for Slavic Studies."

Recommended Readings:

Golfo Alexopoulos, Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens and the Soviet State, 1926-1936.

Loren Graham, The Ghost of the Executed Engineer.

Moshe Lewin, The Making of the Soviet System.

Sheila Fitzpatrick,The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (esp. pp. 115-148).

Stephen Kotkin, "Speaking Bolshevism," Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as Civilization, pp. 198-237.

Week 5: Village Furies—Dekulakization

Tuesday, 2/10:

SECONDARY READING: Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 122-147.

ASSIGNMENT: Research Assignment Due.

Thursday, 2/12:

SECONDARY READING: "Introduction: Death in the Taiga," "Class Warrior, Boy Martyr," "All Soviet Hero," "The 'Real Life" of Pavlik Morozov," in Catriona Kelly, Comrade Pavlik; The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero, pp. 1-17, 110-176, 239-246, 260-265.

Friday, 2/13:

TEXT: Mikhail Doroshin, "Pavlik Morozov," in James von Geldern and Richard Pipes, eds, Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays and Folklore, 1917-1953, pp. 153-156. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

Collectivization saw the intimate betrayals of family members against family members, fathers against sons and the younger generation against the tradition. The central narrative of this conflict became the story of Pavlik Morozov. Figes seems very clear about the facts in the case by Catriona Kelly is quite dubious we shall ever know the truth of family denunciation and murder. For her, Pavlik Morozov is more profound as an evolving symbol of the regime's expectations from children, rather than the sort of family betrayal seen in the Tvardovsky story. What were these expectations and how were they embodied by cultural artifacts, such as Doroshin's poem?morozov1.jpg

Research Assignment:

Identify three memoirs, diaries, interviews, or other contemporaneous primary sources that would aid in your research project. (Which shouldn't be so hard in this class!) List them and give a line each on how well they serve your research needs. For instance, you might want to pair J. Arch Getty's The Road to Terror with Chuev's 40 Conversations with Molotov, to get a feel for what the architects of the terror were doing. Conversely, if you were working on the war and terror, Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago (in the main an oral history) might be well paired with Ginzburg's reminisces of the war years in her Within the Whirlwind.

Recommended Readings:

Elizabeth Wood, Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia.

Lynn Viola, The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin’s Special Settlements.

Moshe Lewin, “Who was the Soviet Kulak?” Soviet Studies 18/2 (Oct., 1966): 189-212.

Lynne Viola, The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930.

Week 6: Harvest of Hunger—Collectivization

Tuesday, 2/17:

SECONDARY READING: Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 76-111.

ASSIGNMENT: Research Assignment Due.

Thursday, 2/19:

TEXT: Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, "Class Enemy," in Silent Steppe, pp. 3-134.

Friday, 2/20:


Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, "Famine," in Silent Steppe, pp. 135-248.

Lev Kopelev, “The Last Collections, 1933,” in Ron Suny, ed., The Structure of Soviet History, pp. 212-221. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

Shayakmetov’s story takes the grand narrative of collectivization to the personal level of a nomadic shepherd who did not understand Russian, never mind Revolutionary ethics. Who persecuted his family? How did class war undercut kin networks and set his own clan—all important in nomadic society—against him? How did this kulak’s son survive the most deadly famine in Soviet history? On the other side, why did the local activists and outside agitators, like Kopelev, persecute people like this poor shepherd boy? How does Shayakhmetov's story, to say nothing of the family stories collected by Figes, indicate concepts such as "class enemy" and "kulak" were nonsensical to most peasants, even at their neighbors and outsiders devastated village solidarity to collectivize agriculture (peasants themselves thought of this as a new serfdom).k_nam_v_kolkhoz.jpg

Research Assignment:

Prepare a working bibliography of primary sources, monographs and scholarly articles (as well as other resources) you have identified as critical for your research project. Please use Turabian’s Manual of Style format for this bibliography, NOT social science citation.

Recommended Readings:

Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow.

Lynne Viola, The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930.

Andrea Graziosi, The Great Soviet Peasant War: Bolsheviks and Peasants, 1917-1933.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants.

Lynn Viola, The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin’s Special Settlements.

Week 7: Life Has Become More Merry, Comrade

Monday, 2/23:

Tuesday, 2/24:


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 148-192.

Rebecca Balmas Neary, "Mothering Socialist Society: The Wife-Activists' Movement and the Soviet Culture of Daily Life, 1934–41," The Russian Review 58/3 (1999): 396-412. (On reserve)

Thursday, 2/26:

TEXT: "Diary of Galina Vladimirovna Shtange," in Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror, 169-214.

Friday, 2/28:

TEXT: Inna Shikheeva-Gaister, "A Family Chronicle," In The Shadow of Revolution, Fitzpatrick and Sleazkin, eds., pp. 366-390. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: No assignment this week—work on your mid-term take-home essay.
Discussion Question:

No assignment this week—work on your mid-term take-home essay.

Research Assignment:

No assignment this week—work on your proposals. I will provide a sample proposal on Blackboard

Recommended Readings:

Marina Balina, ed., Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style.

Sarah Davies, "Us against Them": Social Identity in Soviet Russia, 1934-41," Russian Review 56/1 (1997): 70-89.

Julie Hessler, A Social History of Soviet Trade: Trade Policy, Retail Practice, and Consumption, 1917-1953.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism, intro., chs. 1-7, pp. 1-163.

Nikolai Timasheff, The Great Retreat.
Week 8: Thank you, Comrade Stalin for Our Happy Childhoods!

Tuesday, 3/3:


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 329-342.

Thursday, 3/5:


Cynthia Hooper, "Terror of Intimacy: Family Politics in the 1930s Soviet Union," in Christina Kiaer and Eric Naiman, ed., Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the Revolution Inside, pp. 61-91. (On reserve)

TEXT: Nina Lugovskaya, I Want to Live, 5-88.

Friday, 3/6:

TEXT: Nina Lugovskaya, I Want to Live, 129-149, 210-254.

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due. Paper Proposals Due.
Discussion Question:

Cynthia Hooper notes an extraordinary politicization of private life and sentiment in her discussion of affective ties (often familiar) and how they were suspect by the Stalinist regime. In a regime that lionized denunciation of parents (Pavlik Morozov) and spouses (Party Card), the difficulties of adolescent rebellion are even more fraught with peril than is usual. How was Nina Lugovskaya, in many ways a normal teenage girl struggling with crushes, boredom in school, resentments over "too perfect" siblings and self-doubt, deeply alienated by the regime's treatment of her father? What is the tenure of the comments in her diary (bolded in the text) that the NKVD used against her? Does Nina strike you as precociously political or was she simply a normal teenager struggling to make sense of a world that rarely fits into the regime's propaganda? What did she say, in the privacy of her diary, that deserved imprisonment in the worst Soviet Gulag, Kolyma?

Research Assignment:

Hand in your paper proposals. Each proposal should include a topic, a working thesis and a discussion of the methodology you plan to use and its appropriateness. For instance, a proposal on “Children and Terror” might have a working thesis such as “Soviet children, while intensely indoctrinated by the regime, were largely innocent bystanders caught up in the wheels of repression." You should include a discussion of which sources and secondary literature you intend to use (for instance, Catriona Kelly's book on Pavlik Morozov and Lugovskaya's diary would certainly be appropriate for the above topic). Include a detailed bibliography broken down by sources and secondary literature.

Recommended Readings:

Cathy A. Frierson and Semyon Vilensky, eds., Children of the Gulag.

David Hoffmann, "Stalinist Family Values" ch. 3 in Stalinist Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity, pp. 88-118.

Deborah Hoffman, The Little Enemies: Children in the Shadow of the Gulag.

Catriona Kelly, Children's World: Growing Up in Russia, 1890-1991.

Anatole Konstantin, A Red Boyhood: Growing Up Under Stalin.

SPRING BREAK, 3/9-3/13

Week 9: Cadres Decide Everything!

Tuesday, 3/17:


Igal Halfin, "The Demonization of the Opposition: Stalinist Memory and the “Communist Archive” at Leningrad Communist University," Kritika 2/1, (Winter 2001): 45-80. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Research Assignment Due.

Thursday, 3/19:

TEXT: "Diary of Stepan Filippovich Podlubny," in Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror, pp. 291-331.

Friday, 3/20:


Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind, 1-47.

"Diary of Vladimir Petrovich Stavsky," in Veronique Garros, ed., Intimacy and Terror, 219-290.

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.


Discussion Question:

Evgeniia Ginzburg was an elite and true-believing Communist. Explain how she came to be suspected of being an oppositionist and how her efforts to clear her name ultimately failed. What role did denunciation play in her fall from grace? How did the demonization of the political opposition became a powerful cognitive frame that trapped her, despite her loyalty as a Soviet citizen? For someone who was actively concealing his past, such as Podliubny, how did he cope with his failure to measure up, if only to himself? Looking at the diary of Stavsky, how did suspicious Communists (class enemies with a party card in their pocket, as Stalin claimed) appear from the side of the denouncer?

Research Assignment:

Meet with me one-on-one to discuss your proposal. I will provide a sign-up venue.

Recommended Readings:

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Tear Off the Masks!: Identity and Imposture in Twentieth Century Russia.

J. Arch Getty, The Road to Terror; Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939.

Paul R. Gregory, Terror by Quota; State Security from Lenin to Stalin.

Wendy Goldman, Terror and Democracy in the Age of Stalin.
Week 10: The Gods Athirst—The Great Purges

Tuesday, 3/24:


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 227-251, 298-315.

Thursday, 3/26:

SECONDARY READING: Wendy Z. Goldman, Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, “ch. 1, “The Terror: A Short Political Primer,” pp. 23-80.

TEXT: Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind, 48-119.

Friday, 3/27:

SECONDARY READING: Wendy Z. Goldman, Inventing the Enemy: Denunciation and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, “Conclusion: A History without Heroes,” pp. 298-315.

TEXT: Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind, 120-179.

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.

Discussion Question:

What was the Kafka-esque world that those accused in the Great Purges found themselves in? How did victims like Evgenia Ginzburg attempt to answer their accusers and why were their refusals to confess, in the end, irrelevant? As Figes makes clear in the tragic story of Yuliia Piatnitsky and Goldman chronicles for many victims, no one was above suspicion and once suspected, testimony would be procured—one way or another. Do you agree with Goldman that the Great Purges is a “history without heroes”?

Research Assignment:

Work on detailed outline of research papers.

Recommended Readings:

Anne Applebaum, Gulag; A History.

J. Arch Getty, The Road to Terror.

Wendy Goldman, Terror and Democracy in the Age of Stalin, ch. 6, 204-254.

Paul R. Gregory, Terror by Quota; State Security from Lenin to Stalin.

Paul R. Gregory, Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives, ch. 5, “The Great Terror: Directive 00447,” pp. 43-61.

David Shearer, Policing Stalin’s Socialism.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, Abridged.


Week 11: Surviving the GULag

Tuesday, 3/31:


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 208-226.

Paul R. Gregory and Valery Lazarev, The Economics of Forced Labor: The Soviet Gulag, Andrei Sokolov, ch. 2, “Forced Labor in Soviet Industry; The End of the 1930s to the mid-1950s, an Overview,” pp. 23-42. (On reserve)gulag.jpg

Thursday, 4/2:

TEXT: Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind, pp. 180-272.

Friday, 4/3:

TEXT: Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind, pp. 273-417.

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

What was the Gulag and why did he rise to such a massive size? How did its inmates, including people such as the economist Kondratiev, try desperately to maintain an intimate connection with their families? How did Ginzburg's prison experience make it clear to her that her commitment to communist ideals and allow her to make friends and help people very much outside her experience?

Research Assignment:

Please hand in a fairly detailed outline of your planned research paper. Remember to include an introduction and conclusion—as well as citations of all quotes and important arguments and data.

Recommended Readings:

Anne Applebaum, Gulag; A History.

Janusz Bardach, Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag.

Steven A. Barnes, Death and Redemption: The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society.

Eugenia Ginzburg, Within the Whirlwind.

Varlam Shalamov, Kolyma Tales, 3-66.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, Abridged.
Week 12: Ordinary Stalinists
Tuesday, 4/7:

SECONDARY READING: Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 258-272, 455-522.

Thursday, 4/9:


V. M. Molotov with Felix Chuev, Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics, part 3, "With Stalin," pp. 253-271. (On reserve)

Fyodor Mochulsky, Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir, pp. 3-75.

Friday, 4/11:

TEXT: Fyodor Mochulsky, Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir, pp. 90-137, 168-173.

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.
Discussion Question:

The architects of Stalin's terror, men like Kaganovich and Molotov were true believers who defended the repressions on ideological grounds, as Molotov's interviews with Chuev indicate. Most of the cogs in Stalin's machinery of repression, from the informers to the bureaucrats to the camp bosses, were careerist officials who simply conformed to the system. What do you think about the actions of men like Mochulsky and Simonov—those who knew the repression was wrong but participated in it for expedience sake? In the grim conditions of the post-war USSR were their decisions driven by ambition, loyalty or fear (or a combination of all of the above)?

Recommended Readings:

Kees Boterbloem, Life and Death under Stalin: Kalinin Province, 1945-1953.

Donald Filtzer, Soviet Workers and Late Stalinism: Labor and the Restoration of the Stalinist System after World War II.

Yoram Gorlizki, Cold Peace; Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945-1953.

Mark Harrison, "The Soviet Union after 1945: Economic Recovery and Political Repression," Past & Present 210/6 (2011): 103-120. (On reserve)

David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb.

Elena Zubkova, Russia After the War: Hopes, Illusions and Disappointments, 1945-1957.

Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshkov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War.

Galina Ivanova, Labor Camp Socialism: the Gulag in the Soviet Totalitarian System.

Week 13: Resistance

Tuesday: 4/14 stilyagi.jpg


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 522-534.

ASSIGNMENT: Paper Drafts Due

Thursday, 4/16:


Juliane Fürst, "Prisoners of the Soviet Self?: Political Youth Opposition in Late Stalinism," Europe-Asia Studies 54/3 (May, 2002): 353-375. (On reserve)

TEXT: Ch. 3, “Unconscious Agents of Change: Soviet Childhood Creates the Cynical Generation,” in Donald Raleigh, Soviet Baby Boomers: An Oral History of Russia’s Cold War Generation, pp. 120-167. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.

Friday, 4/17:

SECONDARY READINGS: Steven Barnes, "In a Manner Befitting Soviet Citizens": An Uprising in the Post-Stalin Gulag," Slavic Review 64/4 (Winter 2005): 823-850. (On reserve)

TEXT: Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, vol. 3, ch. 12, "The Forty Days of Kengir," pp. 285-334. (On reserve)
Discussion Question:

As Figes makes clear, the death of Stalin crystallized a great deal of resistance to the totalitarian system of repression created by the dictator. In more subtle ways, Furst indicates many younger people were already distancing themselves from Stalinist mentalities in the late 1940s and increasingly “tuned out” of the Soviet project (as Raleigh chronicles). Nevertheless, Barnes argues that post-Stalin Gulag revolts were profoundly Soviet in their frame. Even Solzhenitsyn's rebels at Kengir are remarkable for their insistence on approaching their strike as a pro-Soviet reaction. Could one resist repression and still be 'Soviet'? If so, how?

Research Assignment:

Continue to work on draft.

Recommended Readings:

Anne Applebaum, Gulag; A History.

Vladimir A. Kozlov, Mass Uprisings in the USSR: Protest and Rebellion in the Post-Stalin.

Vladimir A. Kozlov, Sedition: Everyday Resistance in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and Brezhnev.

Erik Kulavig, Dissent in the Years of Khrushchev: Nine Stories about Disobedient Russians.

Alexei Yurchak, Everything was Forever, Until It was No More: The Last Soviet Generation.

Week 14: Return of the Repressed


Tuesday: 4/21


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 535-596.

Polly Jones, "Memories of Terror or Terrorizing Memories? Terror, Trauma and Survival in Soviet Culture of the Thaw," The Slavonic and East European Review, 86/2 (April 2008): 346-371. (On reserve)

Thursday, 4/23:


K. Petrus, "Liberation," in Anne Applebaum, ed., Gulag Voices: An Anthology, pp. 181-192. (On reserve)

Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, vol. 3, ch. 7, "Zeks at Liberty," pp. 445-470. (On reserve)

Anna Larina, This I Cannot Forget: The Memoirs of Nikolai Bukharin's Widow, "Reunion with Yura in 1956," pp. 318-323. (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.

Discussion Question:

How did the "Thaw" and the rehabilitation of Soviet political prisoners cause serious confusion in Soviet society, both among the repressed and those complicit in their repression? How was the ability to finally speak openly about all the atrocities they had experience, act as both a release and a burden to Stalin's victims? How did they, like Solzhenitsyn in exile, continue to have "spoilt biographies"? Do you think that the massive amount of repression that accompanied the Thaw was good or bad for Soviet society?

Research Assignment:

Work on final papers.

Recommended Readings:

Nancy Adler, "The Return of the Repressed; Survival After the Gulag," in Daniel Bertaux, Living Through the Soviet System, pp. 214-234.

Nanci Adler, The Gulag Survivor: Beyond the Soviet System.

Miriam Dobson, Khrushchev’s Cold Summer: Gulag Returnees, Crime and the Fate of Reform after Stalin.

Leona Toker, Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors.

Conclusion: Survivors and Shadows

Friday, 4/27:

Paper Drafts Returned


Orlando Figes, The Whisperers, pp. 597-656.

Alexander Etkind, "Post-Soviet Hauntology: Cultural Memory of the Soviet Terror," Constellations, 16/1 (March 2009): 182–200. (On reserve)

TEXT: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “Heirs of Stalin.” (On reserve)

ASSIGNMENT: Reaction Paper Due.

Discussion Question:

Varlam Shalamov wrote that, "A human being survives by his ability to forget." So, would it seem, does an authoritarian regime. The Soviet government, especially after 1964, systematically silenced memories of the Stalinist terror and continued low grade repression of those who would use them as a systemic critique of Communism, at least until the explosive events of perestroika. How does Figes, in the realm of individual psychology, and Etkind, in the realm of cultural expression, make clear that this repression of memory has deeply scarred Soviet (and post-Soviet families) as well as the post-Soviet countries' political culture? Etkind believes Russian culture is "haunted" by a form of "black energy" from the Terror. Do you believe that Evtushenko's fear has been realized and the ghost of Stalin again terrorizes Russia?

Research Assignment:

Drafts returned, schedule meeting with Prof Payne to discuss.

Weds., 5/6 Final Papers Due (1:00 p.m.)

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