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Fisher Fellow Talk: "Materialising Soviet Selves: Letters, Loyalty and Gender, 1936-40" (Hannah Parker, University of Sussex)

Event Type
wifi event
Jul 28, 2022   10:30 am  
Hannah Parker (Lecturer in History, University of Sussex)
Originating Calendar
Russian, E. European & Eurasian Center: Speakers
‘I am so anxiously sorry that I cannot show you in any way my gratitude, my desire to be of any use to you’, closed one letter from E.V. Krasnova in Southern Ukraine, in response to Molotov’s intervention in her pension application due to her late husband’s revolutionary merits. Krasnova’s letter can be read as an attempt to substantiate her gratitude, mitigating her distance from Molotov by traversing distance and rank. Critical to Soviet women’s sense of emotional ‘security’, (Tikhomirov, 2013), this paper contends that letters constituted vessels for the ‘productive entanglements’ by which Soviet people negotiated the self, feeling, belonging in dialogue with Soviet power, as the intensification of social and political control reached crescendo. These negotiations were deeply gendered, as women formulated and concretized their history and memory through discursive forms of women’s emancipation, education, and revolution.

Hannah Parker is a historian of gender, selfhood, and letter-writing in Russia and the Soviet Union. After completing her PhD and a Teaching Associateship at the University of Sheffield, she held lectureships at the Universities of Gloucestershire and Sussex. Her research interests focus on gender, emotion, education, and selfhood, as well as letter-writing and materiality, in the early Soviet Union, and recent publications have addressed the emotions of female librarians in the early Soviet Union, the performance of loyalty and gratitude in letters to Soviet authorities during the Terror, and new scholarship in public history. She is currently developing these interests in pursuit of a community history project based in Sheffield.

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