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Performing Justice : Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia.

Author: Elizabeth A Wood
Publisher: Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2018.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
After seizing power in 1917, the Bolshevik regime faced the daunting task of educating and bringing culture to the vast and often illiterate mass of Soviet soldiers, workers, and peasants. As part of this campaign, civilian educators and political instructors in the military developed didactic theatrical fictions performed in workers' and soldiers' clubs in the years from 1919 to 1933. The subjects addressed  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Wood, Elizabeth A.
Performing Justice : Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia.
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, ©2018
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth A Wood
ISBN: 9781501711473 1501711474
OCLC Number: 1038484987
Description: 1 online resource (312 pages)
Contents: Cover; Contents; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. A Question of Origins; 2. Experimental Trials in the Red Army, 1919-20; 3. The Trial of Lenin; 4. Teaching Politics through Trials, 1921-23; 5. The Culture of Everyday Life, 1922-24; 6. Melodrama in the Service of Science; 7. The Trial of the New Woman; 8. The Crisis in the Clubs and the Erosion of the Public Sphere; 9. Shaming the Boys Who Smoke Cigarettes; 10. Fiction Becomes Indistinguishable from Reality, 1928-33; Conclusion; Appendix; Archives Consulted; Notes; Index; A; B; C; D; E; F; G; H; I; J; K; L; M; N; O; P; R; S; T; U; V; W; Y; Z.
More information:

Abstract:

After seizing power in 1917, the Bolshevik regime faced the daunting task of educating and bringing culture to the vast and often illiterate mass of Soviet soldiers, workers, and peasants. As part of this campaign, civilian educators and political instructors in the military developed didactic theatrical fictions performed in workers' and soldiers' clubs in the years from 1919 to 1933. The subjects addressed included politics, religion, agronomy, health, sexuality, and literature. The trials were designed to permit staging by amateurs at low cost, thus engaging the citizenry in their own remaking. In reconstructing the history of the so-called agitation trials and placing them in a rich social context, Elizabeth A. Wood makes a major contribution to rethinking the first decade of Soviet history. Her book traces the arc by which a regime's campaign to educate the masses by entertaining and disciplining them culminated in a policy of brute shaming. Over the course of the 1920s, the nature of the trials changed, and this process is one of the main themes of the later chapters of Wood's book. Rather than humanizing difficult issues, the trials increasingly made their subjects (alcoholics, boys who smoked, truants) into objects of shame and dismissal. By the end of the decade and the early 1930s, the trials had become weapons for enforcing social and political conformity. Their texts were still fictional--indeed, fantastical--but the actors and the verdicts were now all too real.

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