The Soviet Experiment in Literature and Film
Architects of the Soviet experiment claimed to create a radically new type of society and person, superior to all that came before. What were the defining features and founding myths of the Soviet identity, as propagandized by the government? How did this imagined identity clash with realities of life in the USSR? What cultural figures opposed the official discourse, and what artistic modes of resistance did they develop? To explore these questions, we read fiction and poetry by authors central to defining and contesting the Soviet experiment, including Maiakovski, Gladkov, Ginzburg, Pelevin, Dovlatov, and Petrushevskaya, and watch ground-breaking films by Vertov, Tarkovsky, Daneliya and others. All materials are in English. No prior knowledge of Russian literature or culture is required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.