Minutes from ChEEER Annual Meeting

ChEEER Annual Meeting

ASEEES Virtual Convention

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021

An intimate and lively meeting of the Childhood in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and Russia Working Group met via Zoom for our annual meeting, the first since 2019.

Introduction of members

Announcements

  • ChEEER-sponsored roundtable on Friday, 12/3; reminder to self-nominate for ChEEER sponsorship at ASEEES 2022 Convention
    • perhaps a lightning-round on current/future work might be a good idea for 2022?
  • recognition of publications and book awards
  • increased number of panels at ASEEES relating to childhood was noted
  • discussion of collaboration opportunities
  • encouragement to post on our FB page (work, projects, etc.)

Information

  • distribution of handouts listing upcoming CFPs and conferences of interest to scholars working on childhood/children/youth
    • discussion about encouraging presentation at conferences where our region is usually underrepresented
  • distribution of bibliography for 2020-2021 & additions needed to it
    • if any member is interested in organizing upcoming bibliographies/CFPs, please contact Anastasia or Julie

New Business

  • ChEEER Book Talks
    • a proposal to sponsor virtual book talks during the year for new authors was met with great enthusiasm
      • a suggested target is 5x/year
      • format: 20-25 minutes for author talk/20 minutes Q&A with a moderator
      • proposal to include dissertations as “books” was enthusiastically agreed upon
      • Olga will help with promotion & make sure ASEEES knows we are hosting these
      • some suggestion that Area Studies Centers might sponsor them?
      • perhaps we can record & post on social media for those unable to attend
        • if any member is interested in organizing Book/Diss Talks, please let us know!
        • anyone who has a recent publication or dissertation and would like to do a talk, please let us know as well!
  • ChEEER Twitter Account
    • a proposal to add another social media channel to ChEEER was approved
      • the purpose of the account is: 1.) to promote the work of ChEEER members; 2.) to recruit new members to our working group; 3.) to advertise events of interest to our member (or events by our members for wider public)
      • we have in mind a member to ask to manage an account

We encourage members to do two things in the upcoming year:

1.) Publish short blog posts on our ASEEEES Commons page (address: https://cheeer.aseees.hcommons.org) – the page remains underutilized.

2.) consider serving as a co-executive officer of ChEEER. It will be healthy for the organization to rotate officers regularly; if someone would like to replace Julie and work with Anastasia, please let us know! Anastasia represents the literature and film contingent, so ideally a co-executive would represent a different discipline. Please let Anastasia or Julie know if you are interested! We’d love to talk with you.

Respectfully submitted by moderators Julie deGraffenried & Anastasia Kostetskaya

ASEEES Panels of Interest 2021

ChEEER Meeting info:

Childhood in Eastern Europe and Russia (ChEEER)

Thu, December 2, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR33

ASEEES Convention Panels w/ at least one paper related to children or childhood, by date

“Let´s get together!” Cultural, Economic and People’s Diplomacy in the Cold War

Thu, November 18, 2:30 to 4:15pm CST (2:30 to 4:15pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 2nd Floor, Churchill C2

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel explores the meanings and implications of ´diplomacy´ through a variety of cases from the Cold War era. The papers show how actors from the Soviet Union and other parts of the world – be it America, Bavaria, or the Global South – engaged in their encounters and their purposes, and they present various approaches how this field of encounter can be investigated with a perspective next to and far beyond the political top levels.

At the Intersection of Cultures: Migrants and the Left-Behind Family Members

Fri, November 19, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 2nd Floor, Marlborough A & B

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

In the context of a globalized world, intensified migration and mobility, and the modern processes of enlightened citizenship, the scientific interest is more concentrated towards the migrant experiences in the destination countries than to their families and communities left-behind in the countries of origin. Therefore, we suggest a panel which deals with the economic, cultural and social changes which are brough under the influence of the migrants in the home societies / communities. The topics of interest are such concerning the migrant impacts on the value systems and modes (regarding for e.g. traditional gender norms, rituality, education); the living modalities (better/worse access to medical care, better/worse quality food, medications); identity reflections (civic, national, ethnic), the role of the media in accelerated cultural processes (creation of stereotypes and respective social reflection on the sense on the status of the left-behind – prestige, dishonor); economic processes (re-population of villages, renewed interest in agriculture, “bio” and rural living; remittances and their reflection on the quality of life household budget; community’s economic growth; job satisfaction/ dissatisfaction; well-being).

Navigating New Worlds: Political Amphibians in Central and Southeastern Europe in Moments of Crisis

Fri, November 19, 1:00 to 2:45pm CST (1:00 to 2:45pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 3rd, Ascot-Newbury

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Inspired by Chad Bryant’s analysis of those peoples who found themselves caught between Nazi Germanization policies and Czech nationalization efforts during and after the Second World War, this panel investigates the ways in which “political amphibians” – peoples with fluid or unclear national affiliations – in Central and Southeastern Europe navigated moments of national awakening, imperial dissolution, nation-state formation, and post-war upheaval.
The papers in this panel will analyze the dynamics between small and great powers, ethnic minorities and political majorities, uprooted peoples and newly-restructured states. They will acknowledge the power imbalances that were inherent in these relationships, while nevertheless pointing out the agency of the disadvantaged in their efforts to make the best of the unfavorable situations in which they found themselves. Distancing themselves from nation-centric perspectives and simplistic narratives of victimization, these papers will demonstrate the complexity of political amphibians’ responses to moments of crisis. They will show how nascent nation-states co-opted Great Power discourses of civilization, how ethnic and religious minorities played new nations and old empires against one another, and how individuals displaced by war looked beyond divisions brought on by conflict to form new communities. In so doing, they will highlight the nuances in political amphibians’ responses to changing political and social conditions, demonstrating the at times empowering, often contradictory, and always complex nature of historical actors’ responses to moments of upheaval and crisis.

Educating Girls in the Late 19th/Early 20th Century: Gender, Youth, and the Challenges of Modernity

Fri, November 19, 1:00 to 2:45pm CST (1:00 to 2:45pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 2nd Floor, Churchill C1

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Children are notably difficult historical subjects to study, with girls proving especially elusive in the archive. This panel seeks to explore the experience of girls as students in the rapidly changing world of the late 19th/early 20th century. Drawing on the theme “Diversity, Intersectionality, and Inclusion,” it brings together experts on diverse populations to investigate how empire-wide trends surrounding girls’ education manifested locally. With panelists with expertise in Russian, Tatar, Polish, and Azerbaijani history, the varied influences informing gender debates in the Russian imperial domain will emerge. In her paper “Jadid Madrasas for Girls and the Creation of a New Ethos of Serving the Nation,” Rozaliya Garipova investigates the experiences of female students in new method madrasas, and how the proliferation of madrasas fostered networks for the circulation of knowledge. Greta Bucher’s paper “What a Girl Needs to Know: Hygiene and Sex Education in Early Twentieth-Century Russia” explores how debates around the education of girls in health and hygiene reflected broader anxieties brought on by the complexities of the early twentieth century. In “Young Women’s Education in Nineteenth-Century Russian Poland: Challenges and Opportunities for Multi-Confessional Dialogue,” Natalie Cornett explores the ties between the Jewish, Polish and women’s questions through debates on women’s education in the Polish press and private letters. “Books for Young Ladies: Girls’ Literacy and the Publishing Industry in Early 20th Century Azerbaijan” by Kelsey Rice analyzes how publications aimed at girl readers reveal the growing presence of literate girls as consumers and participants in the Azerbaijani public.

Political Performativity of Recent Russian Literature

Fri, November 19, 3:30 to 5:15pm CST (3:30 to 5:15pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 3rd Floor, Commerce

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel aims at investigating the interconnection of poetry and politics in recent Russian literary production, not by zooming into the political interferences of poets, but from the point of view of literary theory. It zooms in on the politicality implied in virtually any kind of literature, not only political literature in the narrow sense. Much more promising than any thematic reductionism is the practice of approaching poetical form as politics, as political action, by scrutinizing the performative dimension inherent in or staged by poetic speech acts. If viewed from speech act theory, “the formal is political” (Lipovetsky 2016) in an illocutionary way.
At the panel we will ask questions about which poetic forms are employed to perform political (speech) acts: can poetry revisit the hate speech of public politics? What kind of political interference is accomplished with the help of vulgarisms? How do poets enact societal change by implementing neologisms, for example with regard to race or gender? What are the performative politics of macaronization, code-switching or multimodal embedment? Does estrangement inevitably trigger critical metareflection (Skidan 2004)? What are the political implications of ostentatiously pre-postmodern modes of poetic expression? Can omission, concealment or even absence of certain devices or signifiers be political?

Film – “This is Edik: A tale of a Gifted and Stolen Childhood”

Fri, November 19, 3:30 to 5:15pm CST (3:30 to 5:15pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 3rd Floor, Fulton

Session Submission Type: Film

Brief Description

Eduard Uspensky was Russia’s most influential children’s writer and creator of iconic animation characters, including everyone’s favorite Cheburashka. This part-documentary/part-animation film features interviews with Uspensky’s colleagues and family, as well as excerpts from interviews with the writer himself. Gripping, masterful portrayal of a complicated person who left an indelible mark on several generations of Russian children.

Crimea in Ukrainian Narrative: Cultural Twists and Turns

Sat, November 20, 2:00 to 3:45pm CST (2:00 to 3:45pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 1st Floor, Grand Salon 4&7

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The Crimean cultural text still possesses a modest place in Ukrainian studies. The proposed panel shall examine the nature and significance of the Crimean presence within modern Ukrainian culture. We propose that modernism made the first steps toward Crimean incorporation into the Ukrainian cultural narrative. Despite the long history of coexistence, Crimea appeared infrequently in Ukrainian-language literature. Ukrainian modernist writers were fascinated with the deep historical heritage, intrigued with its cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity, but were spiritually alternated from it. The Soviet period did not change this pattern despite the official incorporation of the peninsula into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The situation did not change drastically in the Post-soviet era. Appreciation of Crimea as a part of the diverse Ukrainian culture only began in earnest in 2014 with Russian annexation. Yelena Severina analyzes Lesya Ukrainka’s poetry dedicated to Crimea through the mediation of the poetic cycles of Adam Mickiewicz. Tetyana Dzyadevych analyses the literary and cultural trajectory of the Crimean Tatars with the Ukrainian cultural narrative. She focuses on the exoticizing of the Crimean Tatars by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky in his Crimean short stories and the film adaptation of these tales in Tatar Triptych (2004) by Oleksandr Muratov and movie Homeward (2019) by Nariman Aliev. Daria Semenova analyses the Crimean narrative in Ukrainian contemporary adventure literature claiming its strong appearance in the cultural discourse begins only after the Crimean annexation in 2014.

Historical and Transgenerational Trauma in the Former Soviet Union and Countries of the Socialist Block

Sun, November 21, 9:00 to 10:45am CST (9:00 to 10:45am CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 1st Floor, Grand Salon B

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel will analyze cultural explorations of historical and transgenerational trauma in the former Soviet Union and countries of the Socialist Block. A traumatic historical event experienced by one generation can cause psychological problems in their children and grandchildren. Our interdisciplinary panel that combines the points of view of a historian and literary scholars will look for interpretations of transgenerational trauma and attempts to ameliorate it in the testimonies of Holocaust survivors, as well as the writings of Svetlana Alexievich and Il’ia Budraitskis, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, and the mother and son pair of writers, Yevgenia Ginzburg and Vasiliy Aksyonov. The traumatic historical events will include WWI and WWII, Soviet famines, Stalin’s labor camps, and the overall experience of being a person with a Soviet past.

Representing Antifascism and Difference in the Czech Lands: Interwar through Postwar

Sun, November 21, 11:30am to 1:15pm CST (11:30am to 1:15pm CST), Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Floor: 1st Floor, Grand Salon 4&7

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel interrogates antifascist cultural production in the Czech lands with a focus on representations of difference, in opposition to the racialized homogeneity sought by fascists. We begin between the two World Wars, with avant-garde responses to the rise of fascism. Next, we linger on wartime reactions to consider cinematic alternatives to the “nationalist impulse” of some mainstream productions. We conclude with an exploration of post-Stalinist, antifascist art and propaganda from the Czech lands and its boundedness to nationality (and foreign) politics. Barbora Bartunkova locates, in a series of anthropomorphic maps designed by Adolf Hoffmeister for the Liberated Theater in Prague, an interwar mode of antifascist resistance. Meghan Forbes looks also to the stage for a discussion of the ways in which Míra Holzbachová’s — a close collaborator with Hoffmeister and a dancer at the Liberated Theater — utilized performance towards fierce social and political critique, dancing across Europe in the 1930s and the USA during the Second World War. Dominic Leppla then analyzes a set of wartime films, not of the Czech lands, which depict the Lidice massacre of 1942. The selected films avoid and challenge the common narrative of nationalist heroism by situating antifascism between the local and the unfamiliar. Jacob Ari Labendz explores the deployment of the Jewish-child-victim as an antifascist symbol in the post-Stalinist Czech lands, through which he reveals a persistent ambivalence about the place of Jews in the national body.

Virtual Convention: ChEEER sponsored panel:

The State of the Field: Reflections on Russian Children’s Literature Research

Fri, December 3, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 20

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Affiliate Organization: Childhood in Eastern Europe and Russia (ChEEER)

Brief Description

In this roundtable, scholars of Russian children’s literature discuss the state of the field in Russian children’s literature research in historical and comparative context, tracing its development and new trends in the field. Marina Balina will discuss “Issues in Russian Children’s Literature Criticism, Past and Present,” focusing on the establishment of literary criticism as a form of content regulation, both ideological and stylistic, and major trends in children’s literature criticism. Larissa Rudova will trace “The Evolution of Russian Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Childhood Studies since the Collapse of the USSR,” focusing on new themes and research trends, and the state of childhood studies. Sara Pankenier Weld will consider “Russian Children’s Literature Research in Comparative International Context,” by exploring unique features of Russian children’s literature of scholarly interest abroad and highlighting theoretical directions in international research of interest for Russian children’s literature research. Kirill Maslinsky will treat “Corpus-Based Studies in the History of Russian Children’s Literature: A Survey,” and examine ways in which the digital humanities represent new opportunities for the field. Anastasia Kostetskaya will analyze the main themes raised in the recent anthologies devoted to childhood and children’s culture, focusing on how these collected volumes tackle issues pertaining to both verbal and visual culture for children against the ideological backdrop of Soviet and contemporary Russia. The roundtable concludes with an open discussion of topics raised by participants and audience comments to create a fuller picture of the state of the field in Russian children’s literature research.

ASEEES Virtual Convention Panels with at least one paper related to children/childhood, by date

Polish Culture between West and East

Wed, December 1, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 6

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The categories of West and East can be deployed not only according to border between former Iron Curtain but also in cases of more distant East (Asia) and Eastern Europe as still „in transition” to Western sphere. The representations of the West and the East are working in wide scope of different aspects: textual representations but also imaginary places and representations of space. In this way the well-known binary opposition can be examined by using fresh and contemporary approaches and various research methodologies as in proposed papers. The panelists propose an interdisciplinary view of Polish culture in its relations with the East and the West, focusing on intercultural transfers and the perception of one culture by another.

Brief Description

This panel brings together experts on 1960s political culture in four countries of east central Europe. By comparing national experiences, we hope to arrive at a more profound understanding of what was transnational and what was locally distinctive.

Continuities and Encounters in Postwar Jewish History: Polish and Soviet Case Studies

Wed, December 1, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 18

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel investigates the history of East European Jewry with the aim of drawing out continuities and encounters between Jewish contexts across the postwar communist period (1945-1991). These four case studies, focusing on Polish and Soviet Jewry and spanning from the immediate postwar moment to the fall of communism, position this history in broader international context through examinations of mobility, diaspora, and cross-border cultural exchange. Together these papers consider Jewish migration, Zionism, the role of international organizations, and the nature of Soviet influence abroad. By highlighting historical connections and transnational exchange, this session offers perspectives on the complicated nature of diversity under communism, the role of Jews as religious and ethnic minority, and minority experiences across national communities. These varied and interrelating case studies offer broader insight about the nature of Jewishness, minority belonging, and diaspora across borders in postwar Eastern Europe and beyond.

The Art of Diversity: Representation of Difference in Interwar Central Europe

Wed, December 1, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 24

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

How were minorities represented (if at all) in the visual practices of modern central Europe? How did the establishment of certain formulae of representation perpetuated hegemonial cultural practices? This panel considers the ways in which internal and external minority groups were visualized and addressed in artistic and commercial spheres. It particularly focuses on the relationship between art, design, and architecture on the one hand and cultural institutions, commerce, and education on the other. Marta Filipová’s paper looks at the images of blackness in the work of central European designers and artists, raising the question to what extent blackness became a popular trope driven by the market economy. Shifting towards the identity of local minorities, Vendula Hnídková assesses the implications of ideals of modernist design in Czech Minority Schools in the Sudetenland. This thread is picked up by Julia Secklehner’s paper, which critically examines the representation of minorities in Czechoslovak art and visual culture.

Developing Successful Curriculum for Reaching ILR 2/3

Wed, December 1, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 19

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel will feature papers that examine a series of diverse language curriculum enrichment projects resulting in the enhanced development of student critical language skills. Student work with native speakers from the target country, with authentic materials from archives, with geography and history materials, as well as their participation in day-long on-location immersions and ‘deep’ -culture workshop will be discussed. The presenters will review the underlying principles that guided the selection of the projects and the process of their implementation. Future potential language curriculum enrichment will be discussed as well.

Engaged Cinema: Investigating (Catholic) Church, Religion, and Ethnicity in Polish Film

Wed, December 1, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 14

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The recent wave of protests against the introduction of a near-total ban on abortion is only the latest instance of the nation’s indignation at the power and influence of the Catholic Church in Poland. The following panel will look at films which explore the changing role of religion in Poland. The comparison of Agnieszka Holland’s “To Kill a Priest” (1988) and “Spoor” (2017) will look at the radical change in representations of Catholic priesthood in Holland’s cinema, which can also be seen as a reflection of a more general evolution of Polish public discourses on religion and Catholic Church. In her analysis of “Spoor,” the author employs Stefania Lucamante’s concept of “righteous anger” that expresses Holland’s authorial agency and a new form of “emotional activism.” The Oscar-winning “Ida” (2013) by Pawlikowski, and the Polish heated debate around it, will show how its postsecular modernity sheds light on the overlap between religious and ethnic identities and the different paces of secularization in Poland and Western democracies. The third paper will look at two documentary films by Tomasz Sekielski, “Tell Noone” (2019) and “Playing Hide and Seek” (2020), which confronted their viewers with overwhelming evidence of sexual molestation of children by Catholic clergy in Poland. In the current situation, where the ruling political party’s program asserts the centrality of “Christian values”, the Sekielski diptych resonates politically. A close examination of the films’ authorial strategies helps to locate them within a broader tradition of politically engaged cinema.

Everyday Schooling, Social Conflicts, and State-building in the Romanian, Hungarian, and Soviet Peripheries: 1900-1940

Thu, December 2, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 7

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The papers in this panel aim to analyze various aspects of daily life in schools in border regions of Dualist Hungary (especially Transylvania), in interwar Romania (in Bukovina and Bessarabia), and in the Soviet Union (the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic). The papers will examine the political engagement of high school students (with a focus on Bukovina); the relations between high school students, and between the latter and teachers, in the context of the integrationist language policy in border areas of Hungary in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and the reactions of the population and the state administration to the application of corporal punishment in rural primary schools in Romanian Bessarabia and Soviet Transnistria. In these papers, students, their parents and teachers act as full-fledged actors, not as mere objects of discourses articulated by the pedagogical and administrative school staff and state institutions. Schools become “contact zones” (M.-L. Pratt) and, therefore, spaces for accommodation and negotiation in the dimension of the relationship between various segments of the civilian population and state institutions, in the context of intensified nation-building and state formation process. These “contact zones” constituted a field of tension all the more intense as the “modern mobilizing states” (A. Khalid), which built these public education systems, tried to expand state institutions within the peripheral regions and rural areas, where illiteracy was dominant. This process was all the more difficult as these regions were populated by several ethnolinguistic groups, embracing diverse and potentially conflicting loyalties.

Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation II: Reception and Adaptation

Thu, December 2, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 22

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The panel is the second one of the two-panel series on “Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation.” The second panel focuses on the questions of culture and ideological transformation. The papers show that adapting foreign works also means importing foreign cultural notions and ideology, or alternatively, stripping them away to make the works more tailored to the local audiences.

For instance, Elena Goodwin explores how visual images of England are modified by making the original images look more grotesque, responding to the ideological demands of the time. Irina Karlsohn argues that the Disney influence in Soviet animation comes with a degree of moral conservatism, and Aleksandra Shubina shows how the American version of “Mystery of the Third Planet” is more in tune with the American value of individual freedom. Finally, Mariya Kastsuikovich shows how American influence in Belarussian and Soviet animation was often not direct, but came through another intermediary, in this case, Vladimir Tarasov and his influence on his fellow directors.

Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation II: Reception and Adaptation

Thu, December 2, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 22

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The panel is the second one of the two-panel series on “Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation.” The second panel focuses on the questions of culture and ideological transformation. The papers show that adapting foreign works also means importing foreign cultural notions and ideology, or alternatively, stripping them away to make the works more tailored to the local audiences.

For instance, Elena Goodwin explores how visual images of England are modified by making the original images look more grotesque, responding to the ideological demands of the time. Irina Karlsohn argues that the Disney influence in Soviet animation comes with a degree of moral conservatism, and Aleksandra Shubina shows how the American version of “Mystery of the Third Planet” is more in tune with the American value of individual freedom. Finally, Mariya Kastsuikovich shows how American influence in Belarussian and Soviet animation was often not direct, but came through another intermediary, in this case, Vladimir Tarasov and his influence on his fellow directors.

Soyuzmultfilm (Working Title): Film Teaser and Discussion

Thu, December 2, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 22

Session Submission Type: Film

Brief Description

Studio Soyuzmultfilm, the USSR’s flagship animation studio, was non-commercial, world-renowned, and fundamental to the upbringing of several generations of Soviet children. Now, Vladimir Putin’s government has relaunched the studio, and we follow a set of animators as they try to launch their own careers and navigate the fraught relationship between art and the market.

As we prepare to head into the final stages of production this winter, we will present a short teaser excerpt of our footage so far to prompt a brief discussion of the film’s subjects, themes, and methodology.

Variations on Émigré Self-Writing

Thu, December 2, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 18

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Self-writing was arguably one of the prevalent modes of émigré literature, ranging from memoirs and autobiographies to more indirect ways of self-writing. This panel is devoted to the varieties of direct and indirect self-writing in emigration, where discursive divergence reflects a wide range of authorial intentions: the nostalgic revival of the Edenic pre-revolutionary past, the documentary factuality of cultural and ideological confrontations, the creation of “surrogates” with biographies very different from the author’s, who nevertheless represent choices the author did, or did not, take. The motivation for specifically examining émigré self-writing is their very specific and complex situation which encouraged self-examination reevaluations especially in the artistic-creative personality.

Inside the Publishing House: Formal Rules, Informal Connections, and Creative Agency in Late-Soviet Publishing

Thu, December 2, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 16

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Traditional narratives about late-Soviet publishing tend to focus on the demands and limitations that writers had to observe or get around in order to be printed. More recently, scholars have examined how individual Soviet writers could, in fact, turn these limitations to their creative advantage. Building on this turn in scholarship on late-Soviet culture, this panel examines how certain actors within the publishing industry (editors, authors, translators, reviewers) used their professional status, privileged access to materials, and informal social networks to influence the industry itself according to their needs and tastes. It maps out the structure of these “backstages” of the Soviet publishing industry in the late 1950s – 1970s. Further, it discusses the specific means by which actors influenced the priorities and aesthetic standards of the industry from within. Finally, it considers how the interplay between these backstages and the official vision of Soviet publishing influenced literary trends and shaped the habits of Soviet readers.

The Soviet Rear of 1941-1945: Peculiarities of Daily Life during War Time (Based on Russian and Kazakhstani Materials)

Thu, December 2, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR32

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Due to the 75 years’ anniversary since the end of the Great Patriotic war, discussions of the costs of the Victory became more relevant, especially with regard to mechanisms used by the Soviet government to mobilize citizens for exhaustive work and material losses to lead the country to the Victory.
The most important characteristic of the society’s development level is material standards and living conditions of people, especially the part of the daily life spent at the production. A necessary condition to understand an objective picture of the Soviet society is to study such characteristics as quantitative and qualitative shifts in labor resources structure, lifestyle of urban and rural population of the center and national republics of the Soviet county, their labor motivation and socio-political activities.
In this regard, the current session will present a comparative analysis of everyday survival practices, labor mobilization and motivation of Soviet people based on both official documents and materials of the oral history research and private sources.
The session includes papers dedicated to the peculiarities of everyday life at front and rear regions, issues of evacuated orphanages and labor mobilization and education of children, working and living conditions, the effect of official propaganda and rumors on people’s labor motivation as mechanisms of coercion and persuasion. Here, the specificity of the Soviet country, diversity and difficulty of life at the Soviet rear both at the center and regions during the war time will be a priority for the session.

Cultural History of the Soviet Family: Children, Parents, and Grandparents

Thu, December 2, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 10

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The panel discusses cultural images of families and cultural roles of individual family members. The panel analyzes both the symbolic crafting of social roles of Soviet families in popular culture, but also how individuals and groups reacted to this symbolism and constructed their own understanding of family. Using a variety of sources, we will discuss official and personal narratives of social and cultural roles of children, parents and grandparents.

Children’s Literature and the Communist State

Thu, December 2, 2:00 to 3:45pm CST (2:00 to 3:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 10

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel interrogates the relationship between children’s literature and the state in the Soviet Union and in the Polish People’s Republic. This literature reveals a host of competing anxieties, which are addressed in this panel through analyses of childrearing manuals, translations, crime writing, and textbooks. Papers examine the ways in which literature for and about children was a site of contentious negotiation of values and norms, with particular attention to the political, social, and historical conditions that shaped life under communism in this region.

Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation I: Disney, the Fleischer Brothers, and the UPA

Fri, December 3, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 13

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel is the first part of the two-panel series on “Transcultural Encounters in Soviet Animation.” The first part focuses on the roles of Disney, the Fleischer Brothers, and the United Productions of America in the technology and aesthetics of Soviet animation.
It starts with the 1930s, when Fyodor Smirnov established an experimental studio modeled after Disney, then moves on to study the popularity of the rotoscoping in 1950s, based on the Fleischer brothers’ animation technique, and finally, to 1970s, which marks a departure from the style of Disney in Soviet animation. The panel also looks at how Soviet animation influenced American animators, specifically how the graphic style of Soviet cartoons by Ivanov-Vano inspired American animators to create “limited animation” style associated with United Productions of America (UPA).

Empire, Identity, and Borders

Fri, December 3, 8:00 to 9:45am CST (8:00 to 9:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 23

Session Submission Type: Individual Paper Panel

Brief Description

This is an individual paper panel.

Language Politics in Education in the Western Borderlands in Late Imperial Russia

Fri, December 3, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 9

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel considers language politics in education in the western borderlands of Late Imperial Russia. The first paper looks at how the Mennonite community responded to the introduction of Russian as the language of instruction for their children. It explores how the issue of education contributed to the exodus of the Mennonites from the empire. The second paper shows how attempts to improve the teaching of the Russian language to non-Russian students in the Southwest combined the concept of a greater fatherland with regional patriotism, which would later manifest itself in a special type of liberal ideology in the region. The third paper explores why, when, and how Jewish history became Russian. It argues that the first Russian-language Jewish history textbook played a pivotal role in the emergence of the Russian Jews as a self-confident vanguard of the modern Jewish nation. The fourth paper examines how the teaching of the Belorusian language during the imperial period contributed to the rise of the Belorusian nation-building project, which influenced the language policies of early Soviet Belarusization used by the Soviet authorities as a bridge between ethnic and civic models of national identity. All four papers speak about the way disparate social and ethnic groups chose their strategies to respond to the pressure of modernization in education.

Croatian Modern and Post-Modern Literature: A Rich Field of Different Approaches

Fri, December 3, 10:00 to 11:45am CST (10:00 to 11:45am CST), Virtual Convention, VR 14

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

Our world teems with life, material objects, events, concepts and ideas, and, thus, with innumerable phenomena. There are, inevitably, huge similarities between the endless processions of such phenomena, but it goes without saying that each existing entity is somewhat, or hugely, different from the next one. An amusing fact that drives this universal truth and law home is the scientifically based conclusion that not even a single snowflake is identical. This same principle holds also good, for all human activities, including what we call language and literature. This panel explores and illustrates such conclusions, by presenting a relatively small, and yet clearly diverse, body of Croatian literature, created within a surprisingly limited geographical area.

The State of the Field: Reflections on Russian Children’s Literature Research

Fri, December 3, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 20

Session Submission Type: Roundtable

Affiliate Organization: Childhood in Eastern Europe and Russia (ChEEER)

Brief Description

In this roundtable, scholars of Russian children’s literature discuss the state of the field in Russian children’s literature research in historical and comparative context, tracing its development and new trends in the field. Marina Balina will discuss “Issues in Russian Children’s Literature Criticism, Past and Present,” focusing on the establishment of literary criticism as a form of content regulation, both ideological and stylistic, and major trends in children’s literature criticism. Larissa Rudova will trace “The Evolution of Russian Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Childhood Studies since the Collapse of the USSR,” focusing on new themes and research trends, and the state of childhood studies. Sara Pankenier Weld will consider “Russian Children’s Literature Research in Comparative International Context,” by exploring unique features of Russian children’s literature of scholarly interest abroad and highlighting theoretical directions in international research of interest for Russian children’s literature research. Kirill Maslinsky will treat “Corpus-Based Studies in the History of Russian Children’s Literature: A Survey,” and examine ways in which the digital humanities represent new opportunities for the field. Anastasia Kostetskaya will analyze the main themes raised in the recent anthologies devoted to childhood and children’s culture, focusing on how these collected volumes tackle issues pertaining to both verbal and visual culture for children against the ideological backdrop of Soviet and contemporary Russia. The roundtable concludes with an open discussion of topics raised by participants and audience comments to create a fuller picture of the state of the field in Russian children’s literature research.

Education, Soviet Style: Children, Collectives, and the State

Fri, December 3, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 9

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The panel will showcase new research on the Soviet schools and ideologies of children’s education. The panel presentations will focus on the four hallmarks of Soviet education: school collectives, Makarenko’s method of re-educating delinquent youth, stories from the exemplary childhood of Soviet leaders, and propaganda of atheism. Tracing the crooked line of changes in the Soviet educational administration and pedagogic methods from the 1920s to 1960s, the panel presenters will chart new holistic approaches to researching the complexity of the Soviet education system.

Materiality, Memory, and History: Towards New Avenues of Inquiry in Holodomor Studies

Fri, December 3, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST (12:00 to 1:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 13

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

The history of the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933, known as Holodomor, is marked by uncertainty and historical erasure. Denied by the Soviet regime until its collapse, the history of Holodomor was preserved in traumatic memories shared by Famine’s survivors and their families. For decades they were the only sources of investigating the “haunting legacy” (Schwab 2010) of Famine that kept informing the ways in which the history of Holodomor has been written . The gradual process of the opening of the Soviet archives and growing number of published testimonies contributed to new ways of framing the Famine and understanding its long-term effects. By analyzing the relationship between memory and materiality, this panel will problematize the possibility of new avenues of inquiry within Holodomor studies that stress the need to open the field for new interdisciplinary approaches, rethink existing methodologies, and problematize the nature of sources used for investigating this traumatic past. By focusing on a multilayered relation between materiality, memory, and history this panel will further problematize the meaning of Holodomor as an event that happened on every possible scale, from the most intimate and personal scale of human and community suffering to the institutional, national and global scales of knowledge production. 

East Central Europe in the Sixties: Intersections of Culture and Mentalities

Fri, December 3, 2:00 to 3:45pm CST (2:00 to 3:45pm CST), Virtual Convention, VR 14

Session Submission Type: Panel

ChEEER Working Group Meeting is Back in 2021!

We will hold our working group meeting at the ASEEES Virtual Convention, to accommodate our many international colleagues and our many members who will not be traveling to New Orleans for the in person conference. Here is the information provided to us:

Childhood in Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia (ChEEER)
All Academic Code: 1853771
Unit: Affiliate Group Meetings
Session Submission type: Business Meeting
Time: Thu Dec 2 2021, 12:00 to 1:45pm CST

Place: Virtual Convention, VR33

ChEEER Panels of Interest at ASEEES 2019

The 2019 ChEEER business meeting will take place on
Sunday, November 24 at San Francisco Marriott Marquis, B2, Juniper
from 6.45 to 8.15 pm

State of the Field Roundtable

“What’s New, Kids? The State of the Field in the History of Childhood”
Sun, November 24, 4:30 to 6:15 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra F

In the last several years, the number of papers dealing with children in some way has increased exponentially. The history of childhood and children’s history are relatively new. Philippe Ariès’s L’enfant et la vie familiale sous l’ancien régime (1960) is often cited as the starting point for the serious studies of childhood, but until fairly recently our regional history lagged behind. New approaches have expanded the possibilities for understanding both constructions of childhood –adult-mediated or otherwise – and children’s experiences as historical actors, and, perhaps most importantly, how this knowledge can enhance our understanding of larger historical phenomena. This roundtable will discuss the state of the field today and suggest new pathways for understanding the youngest of historical subjects, their agency, and evolving concepts of childhood.

Other CHEEER Panels of Interest at ASEEES 2019

Saturday, November 23

  • Vulnerability and Care in Today´s Russia
    Sat, November 23, 12:00 to 1:45 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, LB2, Nob Hill C
  • Russian Children’s Reading: Constructing Childhood and Identity
    Sat, November 23, 12:00 to 1:45 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 2, Foothill C
  • Human, non-human, and beyond: manipulation of cultural beliefs
    in Soviet and post-Soviet literature for children and young adults

    Sat, November 23, 2:00 to 3:45 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 2, Foothill C

Sunday, November 24

  • Sexuality, Violence, and Deviance in State Socialism
    Sun, November 24, 8:00 to 9:45 am, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra J
  • Health and Demography in Eurasia: Current Issues and Trends
    Sun, November 24, 12:30 to 2:15 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 2, SOMA
  • War Stories Re-Framed: Ego-Documents and New Narratives
    about the Second World War and Wartime Displacement 

    Sun, November 24, 2:30 to 4:15 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra E
  • Cinematic Appropriations of the Great Patriotic War: The Politics and Aesthetics
    of Wartime Childhood, Remakes, and Film Adaptations of War Narratives

    Sun, November 24, 2:30 to 4:15 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, LB2, Salon 11
  • “What’s New, Kids? The State of the Field in the History of Childhood”
    Sun, November 24, 4:30 to 6:15 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra F

Monday, November 25

  • The Fashioned Body in Soviet Culture
    Mon, November 25, 1:45 to 3:30 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, LB2, Salon 15
  • Social Engineering and Survival in Eastern Europe During and After World War Two
    Mon, November 25, 3:45 to 5:30 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra H
  • Over the Rainbow: Fictional and Fictionalized Places of Literature and Film
    Mon, November 25, 3:45 to 5:30 pm, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 4, Pacific G

Tuesday, November 26

  • Front/Home Front. Gender History of the Great Patriotic War
    in Russia and Kazakhstan. Presentation of Bilateral Research project

    Tue, November 26, 10:00 to 11:45 am, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 5, Sierra E
  • Avant-Garde Picture Books for Children and Adults: Early Soviet Technology, Ideology, Gender
    Tue, November 26, 10:00 to 11:45 am, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Floor: 4, Pacific G

CHEEER Panels of Interest at ASEEES 2018

The 2018 ChEEER business meeting will take place on
Friday, December 7 at Boston Mariott Copley Place, 3rd, Boston University
from 8.00 to 9.30 pm

CHEEER Panels of Interest at ASEEES 2018

Thursday, December 6

  • Identity in Contemporary Societies I: Identity Formation, Memory, and Performance
    Thu, December 6, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Harvard
  • Identities under Duress: Minority Identification Without Minority Rights
    Thu, December 6, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Tufts
  • Specters of Science in Soviet Culture
    Thu, December 6, 2:00 to 3:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Northeastern
  • Film: “Resilience: How to Live 100 Russian Years”
    Thu, December 6, 8:00 to 9:00pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Simmons

Friday, December 7

  • The Government of Dis/ability in Socialist Central Eastern Europe
    Fri, December 7, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon K
  • Performing Otherness in Soviet and Post-Soviet Science Fiction Cinema
    Fri, December 7, 12:30 to 2:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Exeter
  • The Soviet Home Front during World War II
    Fri, December 7, 12:30 to 2:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Arlington
  • Identity in Contemporary Societies II: Formation and Transmission of National Identity
    Fri, December 7, 2:30 to 4:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon C
  • Performing Intercultural Encounters: Western Engagements in Soviet Russia
    Fri, December 7, 2:30 to 4:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Northeastern
  • Performing Anti-Childhood in Contemporary Russian Culture
    Fri, December 7, 2:30 to 4:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 1st, Columbus II
  • Moral Panic and Modernization in the Russian Empire and Soviet Union
    Fri, December 7, 4:30 to 6:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Exeter
  • Transcending Bodies, Crossing Diplomatic Borders:
    Launching Cold War Ideology with the Unheard, Unseen, and Undone

    Fri, December 7, 8:00 to 9:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 1st, Tremont

Saturday, December 8

  • Health and Care in Contemporary Russia: Services for HIV/AIDS, People with Disabilities, and the Elderly
    Sat, December 8, 3:30 to 5:15pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon B

Sunday, December 9

  • Displaced Soviet Children and the Great Patriotic War:
    Experiences of Evacuation, Family Separation, and Adoption

    Sun, December 9, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Dartmouth
  • Performing Power and Agency: Women’s Biographies
    Sun, December 9, 10:00 to 11:45am, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Simmons
  • Performing the Soviet Man, Woman, and Child in Peripheral Spaces
    Sun, December 9, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 5th, New Hampshire
  • Navigating the Enigma: Foreigners in Imperial and Soviet Russia
    Sun, December 9, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 3rd, Brandeis
  • Translating the Memory-Performance of Childhood
    Sun, December 9, 12:00 to 1:45pm, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4th, Grand Ballroom Salon G

 

Феномен сериала

Written by Olga Bukhina

 

В русской детской литературе сериальность – нечастое явление. Конечно, повести с продолжениями писались для детей и раньше – вспомним Волкова и его бесконечные вариации, последовавшие за «Волшебником Изумрудного города». Но здесь дело иное, эти книжки – настоящий сериал, где героиня растет и набирается опыта с каждой книжкой. Впрочем, в прямом смысле слова, расти ей уже некуда, она и так давно вымахала большая-пребольшая. Серия книжек – а их в издательстве «КомпасГид» вышло уже девять – о большой маленькой девочке, как обожаемый самой героиней сериал о Шерлоке Холмсе с актером, чью фамилию она просто не может выговорить, будет, я надеюсь, продолжаться еще долго и на двенадцати сериях не остановится. Автор этих книг – минчанка Мария Бершадская.

 

Большая маленькая девочка – а зовут ее Женя – живет с папой, мамой и сестрой в большом городе, ходит в школу, дружит с соседским мальчиком Мишкой и соседской девочкой Соней. Она, конечно, вызывает удивление прохожих и одноклассников, но все довольно быстро привыкают к ее необычному росту – все-таки она совершенно обычная маленькая девочка. Есть, правда, противный мальчишка, который не перестает дразниться, да и встречные то и дело спрашивают, не баскетболист ли папа. Но ко всему можно привыкнуть, а папа, между прочим, доктор.
Заботы у Жени самые обыкновенные – приручить новый город (раньше Женя жила в городке поменьше, там жить было попроще), снять с дерева попугайчика (он старенький и плохо видит), испечь папе шарлотку на день рождения (а почему ее все зовут шарлоткой?), набрать побольше грибов (и потом выбраться из леса), порадовать умирающего дедушку друга новогодними подарками (подарить ему запахи прошлого – до чего же гениальная идея).

 

Жене, как любой другой девочке, бывает весело, а бывает грустно. Иногда ей надо поплакать – лучше папе, он понимает. А еще она очень любит рассказывать разные истории. Это потому, что кроме роста внешнего, есть у нее и внутренний рост, который она представляет себе в виде огурца. А огурцы Женя любит. Главное, чтобы внутренний огурец не вымахал слишком большим. Вспоминается становая гайка, которую то и дело надо было подкручивать. Она была у героя Радия Погодина – Гришки из «Книжки про Гришку».

Замечательные рисунки Александры Ивойловой очень украшают эти тоненькие томики и помогают себе представить Женю не монстром каким-нибудь, а именно большой маленькой девочкой. А детям Мария Бершадская рассказывает о своих книжках вместе с длиннорукой и длинноногой куклой Женей.

Когда я буду бабушкой

Written by Olga Bukhina

Когда я буду бабушкой
Годов через десяточек
Причудницей, забавницей,
Вихрь с головы до пяточек!
                                        М. Цветаева

Испокон веков в детской литературе бабушки занимали важное место, они рассказывали сказки, пели колыбельные, сидели с маленькими внуками и утешали их в разных мелких горестях.

 

Говоря об иностранных бабушках, сразу вспоминаешь чудную бабушку из книжки «Папа, мама, восемь детей и грузовик» Анне-Катерине Вестли (сама Вестли получила почетное прозвище «бабушки всех норвежцев). В последние пару лет появилось сразу несколько переводных книжек про бабушек, ставших весьма популярными у российского читателя: «Бабушка! – кричит Фридер» Гудрун Мебс, «Бабушка на яблоне» Миры Лобе, «Вафельное сердце» Марии Парр. Это совсем не тихие и смиренные бабушки, а бабушки-авантюристки, каких отечественная детская литература знает немного. Но все же знает, и тут же, конечно, приходят в голову незабываемая Ба в «Манюне» Нарине Абгарян и еще более необычная бабушка Шура в «Где нет зимы» Дины Сабитовой.

 

Две книги Юлии Кузнецовой – «Помощница ангела» и «Дом П» (КомпасГид, 2014) – про бабушек, своих и названных. О «Помощнице ангела» я уже писала, но там бабушка все же играет вспомогательную роль, а вот в «Доме П» бабушка ни много ни мало – главный герой. Она и впрямь геройская бабушка, да еще с явными авантюрными наклонностями.

 

Меняются времена – меняются семьи. Когда-то бабушки были обязательной частью семьи – кто еще будет сидеть с детьми, если не бабушка. Это была отличительная черта советской семьи – бабушка, горой стоящая за внуков, стирающая, убирающая, готовящая на всю семью, все делающая, чтобы только мама, как и всякая советская женщина, могла работать. Теперь же все иначе, Теперь папа-финансовый директор готов отправить бабушку «на покой» в дом престарелых, который деликатно именуется «санаторием».

 

Это слово «престарелый» не хочется выговаривать полностью, вот оно и сокращено до первой буквы. Сразу вспоминается один герой из сказки Вениамина Каверина «Легкие шаги». Чудный был человек, но только о пенсии с ним нельзя было заговаривать, а если уж очень захочется, поскорее надо сказать какое-нибудь другое слово на эту запретную букву.

 

Престарелый – действительно противное слово, и бабушка Женя его просто ненавидит. Она довольно-таки необычная бабушка, котлеты она, конечно, жарит и борщ варит, но по вечерам она, вместо того, чтобы смотреть сериалы, боксирует с грушей, о чем никто, кроме младшей внучки, естественно, не догадывается.

 

Вот от этой бабушки и хотят избавиться – с самыми лучшими, между прочим, намерениями. Только для бабушки ничегонеделание, желанный отдых – хуже смерти. Одно дело дома – приготовить, постирать, рогалики испечь, унитаз починить, с внучкой поболтать, с соседкой посудачить – каждая минута при деле.

 

Но ее сын так боится старости, что превращает нашу еще полную сил бабушку в совершеннейшую старушку. И вообще ему кажется, что бабушка всех ужасно избаловала. Он за всеми своими жизненными сложностями – ответственный человек, финансовый директор – забывает, что она его любимая мама.

 

Теперь бабушка наводит шороху и в санатории, все ей не сидится и не лежится. В доме П даже боксерской груши нет, остается только тренироваться на подушке. Вот бабушка и переворачивает этот санаторий вверх дном.

 

Все кончается хорошо, бабушка возвращается к любимым внучкам, но дом престарелых – это дом престарелых, сколько его не называй санаторием, хотя некоторых улучшений добиться все-таки удалось – благодаря именно этой бабушке. Так что бабушки не только хранят мир, но и переделывают.

The Problem Novel in Russia?

By Kelly Herold

The problem novel–stories with a “problem” (poverty, racism, gang warfare, sexual identity) at their core–is central to “Western” children’s and Young Adult literary traditions.  From The Catcher in the Rye and Seventeenth Summer to The Chocolate WarThe Outsiders, and Speak, children in the West have read stories in which children and teens confront issues and problems similar to or different from those in their own lives.  Sometimes these problems are “solved” (much more likely in the American tradition) and sometimes they are not (Britain, Scandinavia, Germany), but the problem novel remains the center of Western children’s and especially Young Adult literature.

But not in Russia.  And publisher Julia Zagachin (Rozovyi Zhiraf publishing house)* discusses why she is now publishing translations of Western problem novels as part of a long discussion at Snob.ru.   The discussion begins with this paragraph:

Юлия Загачин давно рассказывала, что хочет издавать жесткие и правдивые книжки для детей и подростков. О настоящей жизни, которой живут наши дети в школе, в городе и в семье — о дедовщине, о коррумпированных сообществах, о тяжело больных братьях и сестрах. Скорее всего, без «хэппи-энда», но с реальными проблемами.

The discussion that follows is lively and demonstrates some of the opposition to the problem novel in Russia.  One commenter writes, for example, “Хотите отнять у детей последнее – надежду и хэппи энд?…ого вы хотите вырастить? Зачерствевшие души без веры и надежды, которые не будут плакать над птичкой, потом над кошкой а потом над человеком?”

It’s a fascinating discussion about the role of books for children and young adults, so I hope you’ll head on over and read it all.
——————————–
*I do find it ethically unusual that a major magazine would “print” a statement from a publisher who is discussing soon-to-be published books.  What Zagachin writes and the discussion that ensues, however, is pertinent and very interesting.

Reading Children´s Books in Russia Today

By Kelly Herold
  • Books for Children make up 8-10 percent of Russia’s book market
  • 1 in 5 publishing houses in Russia focus on children’s books
  • Books for preschoolers are most popular

Sorokin also writes that there is a lack of “new names” in the Russian market, especially when it comes to realistic, problem literature and poetry for school-aged children and teens.   In the article, he also discusses non-fiction and comics,  as well as printing costs and location (China) for Russian children’s books.  All in all, an interesting article.

Review: Irena Brežná. Die beste aller Welten. Berlin: Edition Ebersbach, 2008.

Sozialistisches Lebensgefühl: Aus dem Genre der Tragödie [1]

Irena Brežná. Die beste aller Welten. Berlin: Edition Ebersbach, 2008.

Der Roman Die beste aller Welten wurde von der slowakisch-schweizerischen Autorin Irena Brežná geschrieben und bezieht sich auf die 1950er und 1960er Jahre in der Tschechoslowakei. Die Stimme des Mädchens kommt aus jenem Abschnitt der Geschichte Europas, wo im östlichen Teil des Kontinents der offizielle Anspruch auf den Aufbau einer sozialistischen und daher gerechteren – Gesellschaft erhoben wurde als im Westen. Es spricht ein von ihr erschaffener Mensch.

 

Anhand von Brežnás Roman kann man zuverlässig die „pädagogische Herangehensweise“ der sowjetischen Ideologie studieren, ihre Logik und Inhalte sowie das ganze Weltbild, das sie im Kopf der „neuen Menschen“ entstehen lassen wollte. Dieses sozialistische Weltbild erkunden wir mit Hilfe eines Kindes, dessen Umgang mit der Welt der Erwachsenen vor allem aus Neugier besteht und das – wie viele Kinder – eine besondere Begabung für das Nachdenken über Träume hat. Wer, wenn nicht ein Kind, kann sich am besten mit einem utopischen Entwurf auseinandersetzen?

 

Die Wahrheit des kindlichen Bewusstseins ist die Methode bzw. das Instrument dieser literarischen Studie darüber, wie sich der Sozialismus „anfühlte“. Wir folgen der aufrichtigen Stimme des Mädchens, seinen kindlichen Auffassungen und direkten, furchtlosen Fragen an die Welt der Erwachsenen. Es deckt den leidenschaftlich ideologiegetränkten Heroismus des sowjetischen Lebens auf und steckt seinen mythischen Rahmen ab. Dieser Mythos erzählt von der Tragödie und ihren Helden, denn er erzählt von Kampf, Revolution und Krieg – und selbstloser Aufopferung. Doch das Mädchen liebt diesen Mythos und vertraut ihm, es fühlt sich darin geborgen – viel mehr als in der eigenen Familie. Ihre Gedankenwelt zeugt von einer eigenartigen Symbiose mit jenen utopischen Visionen, mit denen sie tagtäglich konfrontiert wird. Sie übernimmt den humanistischen Impetus der herrschenden Idee. Sie vertraut dem Versprechen, dass der Kampf und seine Opfer eine gerechtere und somit glücklichere Welt näher rücken lassen und strebt solidarisch mit dem Mythos inbrünstig dieses bessere Leben an. Doch den verschiedensten Formen der Gewalt, die im Namen einer besseren Welt immer wieder neue Opfer sucht, stehen kindliche Neugier und Lebenslust gegenüber. Das Mädchen lernt, dass man mutig sein soll, und es zeigt seinen Mut, indem es immer wieder neue Fragen stellt.

 

Brežná zeichnet gekonnt die kindliche Lebenslust und die neugierige Leidenschaft für die Freiheit, mit denen sich das Mädchen in der sozialistischen Welt mit ihren tragischen Widersprüchen auseinandersetzt. Aber auf vielen Seiten des Buches spricht auch ein politisch völlig unberührter Mensch, ein gewöhnliches Kind mit allen seinen typischen Sorgen und Freuden. Das gab es in der sozialistischen Welt auch.

 

Review by Anna Schor-Tschudnowskaja (Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria);  Edited by Larissa Rudova, with the author’s permission


 

[1]A full version of this review was published in Europäische Rundschau 3 (2009): 99-104.