Russian Culture in War and Revolution, 1914–22

AHA Session 226
Sunday, January 5, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:30 AM
Virginia Suite C (Marriott Wardman Park)
David M. McDonald, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Aviel I. Roshwald, Georgetown University

Session Abstract

As we approach the Centennial of the outbreak of the Great War, scholarly interest in this seminal conflict has burgeoned. This is particularly significant in the case of Russia, since for decades the study of Russia in the war was completely  overshadowed  by the Russian revolution and creation of a new socialist order.  Our panel on culture in Russia’s Great War and Revolution is an offshoot of a 2-volume project on this subject due to appear in 2014; it reflects  the new  scholarship on Russia’s “forgotten war” and its relationship to the revolution and civil war.   Increasingly, scholars study the period of 1914-1922 as a single “continuum of crisis,” rather than regarding 1917 as a definitive divide between old and new.     Our three papers focus on easel painting and markets for art, mass patriotic culture, and the experience of money and media of exchange from 1914-1922. But each paper also explicitly addresses topics and themes  from the larger project, including questions about the war-time origins of Soviet policies and cultural practices, cultural mobilization in war and revolution, the pervasive influence of the culture of violence, and Russian memory of  the war and revolution. In this way, we hope to engage our audience not only with our investigations into Russian culture in the continuum of crisis, but also to familiarize them with the larger project  on Russia’s culture in war and revolution. The 2014 Annual Meeting of the AHA  seems an ideal place to invite discussion of how the Russian cultural experience fits  the more familiar narratives of the Western experience of the war.

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