Russian Portrayal in Film

Last semester a friend of mine in my dorm, having heard that I planned to be a Russian major, recommended a movie to me that he thought I would find enjoyable. The movie’s name was Eastern Promises and I decided to go and check it out. Upon watching the movie I noticed two things in particular; one, the Russian in the movie was absolutely atrocious, and two, this movie continued the stereotype that all Russians are gangsters and alcoholics.… Read the rest here

Nicholas and Alexandra

When I came home for spring break, my mom welcomed me with a good dinner, homemade brownies, and a copy of the 1971 Oscar-winning film Nicholas and Alexandra. Based on Robert K. Massie’s book of the same name, this film chronicles the story of the last Tsar and his family from the birth of their son Alexi until their execution in 1918. My mom said the book and the movie were among her favorites when she was a kid, and she has an interest in Russian history that she has been satisfying by living vicariously through me over the course of the semester.… Read the rest here

the myth of the big, happy Soviet family

As Claire said, I’ve fallen behind on blogging and will be playing some catch-up into the weekend. In today’s lecture on the soviet penal system, I was thinking about how the relationship between the state and the citizenry has an effect on the relationships between citizens. In the case of the penal system, the state instilled fear in its citizens with the constant threat of unexpected (and often, unwarranted) imprisonment and punishment. The resulting lack of trust between the citizens led to a widespread atomization, not the “big happy family” mentality that one would see in works of socialist realist art (or in films such as Circus).… Read the rest here

Gulag Theatre

After our joint class today, I found myself reflecting on the notion of “re-education.” As a theatre major, I find it extremely that a large portion of the “academic” (for lack of a better word) structure in the camps was theatrical. For example, the prisoners would put on plays that they themselves wrote, always of course within the constraints of soviet political ideology.

In my own life experiences, theatre has been a means by which I access my education but not necessarily what I would consider to be my education in full form.… Read the rest here

Darton and Kivelson

Since I had misread the assignment for a couple weeks ago, I’d thought I’d re-publish my old thoughts. “Darnton does a wonderful job of getting into the mindset of these apprentices and attempting to create reasoning for their actions. By building and explaining the mindset of the worker in eighteenth-century France, Darnton is able to relate their actions to actions that the reader currently partakes in such as Marti Gras and the craziness that currently occurs.… Read the rest here

Cat Massacre and Witchcraft

Both the “The Great Cat Massacre” and “Through the Prism of Witchcraft” deal with the issue of witchcraft during the seventeenth and eighteenth century and the underlying causes, problems, and social issues within the societies where accusations were common. These articles both work to disprove the commonly held beliefs that witchcraft accusations were primarily made against women and that the massacre of cats in France was solely due to a revolt against the social hierarchy.

The article “Through the Prism of Witchcraft” by Valerie Kivelson describes the variety of reasons behind the rise in witchcraft accusations, as well as working to prove approaches towards witchcraft were not uniform throughout all the affected countries.… Read the rest here

Cat massacres and witch trials: reading between the lines

After reading Darton’s “Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Severin”and Kilvelson’s “Through the Prism of Witchcraft: Gender and Social Change in Seventeenth-Century Muscovy,” I was struck by the common thread between the two: that the phenomena they examine are not taken at face value, but are rather viewed as expressions of social angst.

For the journeymen of the Parisian print shop discussed by Darnton, this angst was directed at their master and his wife.… Read the rest here

Witch Hunt and the Great Cat Massacre

The first article, Throough the Prism of Witchcraft: Gender and Social Change in Seventeenth Centry Muscovy takes the witch hunts and compares them to the witch hunts that happen in the Western world and throughout Europe. Valerie A. Kivelson writes about gender in the witch hunts, and how in Russian society, only thirty two percent of the accused were women. In Western Europe and America, this statistic increased to be eightly percent. A thought is made that ‘are women more likely to be accused because they have marginal positions in society?’.… Read the rest here

Russian Orthodox Activists Protest Evolution Theory

I’ve gotten a little behind on blogging (sorry Qualls!) but not for lack of interest. If anything, this course is getting increasingly interesting for me, I’m going to be pretty upset when its over and done with… typical nerd problems.

For my first “catch up” blog posting, I wanted to talk about the article that was sent out last week about Russian Orthodox activists and their protest at a museum. The article, written by Gabriela Baczynska, talks about how religious activists associated with the Russian Orthodox Church put up banners and leaflets that were against the evolution theory at a museum named for Charles Darwin.… Read the rest here

Justifying Types of Government

In Stalin’s post-war speech, we saw how he used Soviet success in WWII to prove the superiority of the Soviet system. He argues that, despite the initial assertions of foreign governments and journalists, the Soviet Union is stronger and vastly superior to capitalist nations. It is hardly surprising that Stalin would use the opportunity of Soviet success and sacrifice in the battlefield to reassert the legitimacy of the Soviet government.

In my recent readings for my American Foreign Policy class, I noted that the U.S.… Read the rest here