Soviet-era postage stamps illustrate the country's history in miniature, from the early years following the Communist revolution to the 1980s' perestroika. Government and public attitudes towards philatelists reflected an overall distrust of any type of 'otherness'; indeed, why would anyone spend time studying and collecting postage stamps? Thus, it should come as no surprise that periods of philatelic internationalism were followed by times of isolationism and pressure on stamp collectors. Despite efforts to place philately within the procrustean bed of Soviet propaganda, people with a passion for stamps stood out from the crowd and were often perceived as dissenters. The discussion of Soviet philately presented below is based on a paper by philologist Konstantin Bogdanov, professor at the HSE Campus in St. Petersburg.
At the last meeting of the HSE Academic Council, it was decided to create a new subdivision of the Faculty of Urban and Regional Development (FURD). The Faculty will now be home to the Institute of Cultural Studies. Vitaly Kurennoy, Director of the Institute and Professor of the School of Philosophy and Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Humanities, discussed the Institute’s main areas of focus and the importance of cultural studies.
Indiana University Press (USA) recently published Seasoned Socialism: Gender and Food in Late Soviet Everyday Life, edited by A. Lakhtikova, A. Brintlinger and I. Gluschenko. In addition to serving as a volume editor, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Humanities of the School of Cultural Studies Irina Gluschenko authored the chapter, ‘”I Hate Cooking!”: Emancipation and Patriarchy in Late Soviet Film.’
On April 2, Sonia Arribas, Senior Lecturer at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, will give a talk as part of the seminar ‘West and East: Universalism of Culture’ at the HSE International Laboratory for the Study of Russian and European Intellectual Dialogue. In her talk, Sonia Arribas will map out the various functions of the symbol of ‘bread’ in Piotr Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread.
On October 2, the HSE International Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research held a regular seminar from its Culture Matters series entitled ‘The scents of Christmas past – the relationship between memory and olfaction.’
During the annual road expedition 'Cultural Effects of Borders', culture studies students from HSE visited Georgia, Armenia, and – for the first time – Iran. They talked to HSE News about the tastes and colors of Iran, and about how compliments form the foundation of the country's communications culture.
The fourth HSE School of Cultural Studies Cultural Effects of Borders annual road trip passed through Rostov Oblast, Dagestan, Kalmykia and Chechnya. On the two week journey, students looked for regional cultural differences, talked to the local people and conducted their own research. On their return they talked to HSE News about the oldest city in the Russian Federation, local variations in women’s clothing and the taste of grilled ground squirrel.