Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Presentations by Stream

Programme : Presentations by Stream

Investigating "National Form" in Early Soviet Culture, 1917-1953

In recent years, increasing numbers of scholars have begun to recognise the centrality of the nationalities question to the Soviet project. The Soviet Union was founded in 1922 as a multinational state where, in a bid to marry revolutionary socialism with the notion of national self-determination, non-Russian nationalities were granted their own national territories and structures of government. In the cultural sphere, this Soviet multinationalism manifested itself in the mantra that cultural production should be “national in form, socialist in content”, combining expressions of national identity with the dominant ideology of Marxism-Leninism. But what did this “national form” look like in practice? How was it translated into the political and cultural realities of the many non-Russian Soviet republics? And what factors influenced the different manifestations of national form from one republic to another?

This panel seeks to explore the nuances of national form in Soviet cultural production up to 1953. Containing papers looking at areas as diverse as Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia, it aims to assess the application of “national in form, socialist in content” across different national contexts, looking both for shared features and local particularities. In this way, the panel hopes to advance discussions of national form in early Soviet culture, moving away from suggestions of an undifferentiated all-Union cultural policy and recognising the varied and multifaceted ways in which national art was produced in the non-Russian republics of the USSR.

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