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Events

International Scholarly Conference "A «Memory Revolution»: Soviet History through the Lens of Personal Documents"

Organizers: International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russian Federation) and The Friedrich Ebert Foundation.


 
The 1990s brought about a revolution in the study of Soviet history. This was symbolized by an “archival revolution”, i.e. the declassification of many official documents from the Soviet period, which were made available to historians. At the same time, through the disclosure of personal texts written during the Soviet period, there was another and no less important “revolution of memory,” allowing for a better understanding and evaluation of the Soviet period. There were diaries, whose existence had been concealed by their owners for many years. There were also memoirs suddenly brought to light that had not been intended for publication. Along with letters, personal photographs, audio recordings and amateur films, these sources from the Soviet period allow for the recreation of a multi-faceted picture of public sentiment in the Soviet Union.

The conference aims to examine the significance and role of personal sources in the study of Soviet history. We want to go beyond an analysis of “Soviet subjectivity,” the construction of the “socialist self,” and related approaches. Above all else, we wish to draw attention to unconventional texts and personal documents, which differed significantly from the official Soviet view of reality. Thematically, we will discuss sources on any period of Soviet history, but the analysis of the history of World War II and the Holocaust in the Soviet Union is particularly welcome.

The working languages of the conference will be Russian and English.
All inquiries should be e-mailed to: worldwar2@hse.ru

Program Committee of the Conference:
  1. Oleg Budnitskii, Professor of History, and Director of the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics
  2. Michael David-Fox, Professor of History, Georgetown University, and Academic Advisor, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics
  3. Alain Blum, Research Fellow, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (CNRS, Paris)
  4. Gennady Estraikh, Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, and Leading Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics
  5. Oleg Khlevniuk, Leading Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences, and Professor of History, National Research University - Higher School of Economics
  6. Benjamin Nathans, Associate Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
  7. Lynne Viola, Professor of History, University of Toronto, and Leading Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences, National Research University - Higher School of Economics

Organizers:
  • International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
  • The Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  • With additional support from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC), the German Historical Institute (Moscow), the Center for Russian, East-European and Caucasian Studies (Paris), the Franco-Russian Research Center (Moscow) and the Blavatnik Family Foundation

Organizing Committee:

Tatiana Voronina, Vera Dubina, Liudmila Novikova, Valeria Pavlova.

 

This event is intended to build on and extend a series of major international conferences organized by the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences of the Higher School of Economics: “World War II, Nazi Crimes, and the Holocaust in the USSR” (2012); “Russia in the First World War” (2014); “Europe, 1945: Liberation, Occupation, Retribution” (2015) and “Stalinism and War” (2016).