Are children raised by nations?

My task for class tomorrow is to lead a discussion on the relationship between the “nation” and the child, and so I will begin that discussion in this post. After reading Stearns book “Childhood in World History” I walked away with two major conclusions, and many minor ones.

Although I already suspected this, I concluded that the nation (meaning, for the most part, the government) has an incredible influence on the concept of childhood within its borders.… Read the rest here

The History of Childhood: An Overview

Maynes, Mintz and Stearns give overviews of the study of children as historical “agents” throughout the modern practice of “doing” history. Maynes and Mintz both draw parallels to the beginnings of studying gender in history, particularly the “agency” of women. Both authors note that the introduction of both age and gender into the process of history reveals problem areas in the traditional historical process. Maynes emphasizes the need to look at personal stories to “rethink” the agency of children in history, with which I fully agree, but will personal stories be enough evidence to support future claims?… Read the rest here

Disappearing Culture: Indigenous Tribes in the Noril’sk Region of Siberia

Early in the Soviet era, the government paid little attention to the indigenous tribes of Siberia and did not take into account whether their policies for modernization would have a negative effect on the native peoples. Collectivization and the push for industrialization directly affected the tribes’ economic activity, traditional lifestyle, and the environment in which they lived.  Industrialization took place across the Soviet Union, however I have chosen to focus on the city of Noril’sk, located in Krasnoyarsk Krai in northern Siberia, between the Yenisei River and the Taimyr Peninsula.… Read the rest here

The “Nature” of Communism

A key aspect of the Soviet Union’s quest for true Communism was becoming waste-free and efficient. Every single resource was utilized for the common good of the state; this included people, materials, machines, and even nature. Unused land was waste, and waste had no place in the Party’s strategy.

Looking back, particularly with today’s heightened emphasis on preserving the environment, it is easy to see the ways in which these policies of brutal extraction from the land would lead to future consequences.… Read the rest here

The Soviet Union: The “Project of the Century?”

“The stagnation of BAM propaganda after its initial formulation indicated the ideological staidness that, by the early 1970s, had gripped the corpus of Soviet governance like some form of mental rigor mortis. While official representations of BAM remained stagnant, the real world around these representations did not. Perhaps this helps to explain the events of the Brezhnev era, a time during which the government refused to acknowledge reality to a greater degree than any regime before it in Soviet history.” – Christopher Ward, Brezhnev’s Folly

The excerpts we read from Brezhnev’s Folly demonstrate how the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM) construction project, which Brezhnev proclaimed to be the “project of the century,” perfectly mirrored the social and political environment of the Soviet Union at the time. … Read the rest here

The Dissident Movement in the Soviet Union

Soviet intellectuals in the late 1960s and early ’70s decided it was high time to voice their opposition to the current political situation in the Union. The movement had roots in the Khrushchev era when the state loosened controls ever so slightly, but by the time Brezhnev came to power and tried to restrict expression yet again, the movement was already taking off.

It was a period of both hope and desperation. For the dissidents, there was hope.… Read the rest here

Disappearing Culture: Native Tribes of Northwestern Siberia

You can find a brief section of my upcoming paper at the following link:

Disappearing Culture

In this section I address governmental policy towards indigenous groups in 19th Century as well as Soviet policy in the 20th Century. These topics will fall in the middle of my final product so bear in mind that more information will come before and after these pages.

Khrushchev’s Unintended Consequences

In response to Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in Moscow, as well as to the growing discontent at home, citizens of Poland, Hungary and eventually Czechoslovakia.

Poland: June 1956

Workers broke out in protest against the unpopular Communist regime and demanded better pay and treatment at the hands of the government. The demonstrations eventually fizzled out thanks to the reformist Wladyslaw Gomulka, who worked with Soviet leaders and the Polish Communist Party to appease the workers and avoid a revolution.… Read the rest here

Georgian Presidential Election

In case you’re a bit under informed, the state of Georgia has not held Presidential elections in a second attempt to secede from the Union.  I’m talking about the small nation-state of Georgia, which held presidential elections on the 27th of October. Georgia is located on the southwest border of Russia in the caucasus region and its relations with Russia have been strained, at best.

In August of 2008 the two countries, along with the separatist provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, fought in a 5-day war that ended up being a huge embarrassment for Saakashvili, the Georgian president at the time.… Read the rest here

Replanning Sevastopol

Students know of the widespread devastation that resulted from WWII, but most history lessons stop just short of how those countries, cities and towns picked up the pieces and rebuilt their homes. As this reading shows, it wasn’t an easy task. Sevastopol needed to be completely rebuilt–and not just the buildings, but social services as well. Infrastructure was close to nonexistent, public health services were failing the population and all the while, architects and city planners were attempting to “russify” the Ukrainian city with a city-wide face lift in the Russian style.… Read the rest here