Summer School on Late Socialism (1956-85): The Forgotten Years between Stalinism and Perestroika

Summer School on Late Socialism (1956-85): The Forgotten Years between Stalinism and Perestroika
24-31 July, 2015
The controversies and legacy of the last three decades of the Soviet Union prior to perestroika have not rendered a simple overarching theory. The Tallinn Summer School in Social and Cultural Studies will bring together leading scholars and PhD students who are interested in discussing the Soviet Union from late 1950s to early 1980s, covering the period that has been labelled the time of “thaw” and “stagnation” but also “mature” or “late” socialism.

The summer school will take place at Tallinn University, Estonia, 24-31 July, 2015. The course is designed for PhD students in the Humanities and Social Sciences; however, motivated MA students and non-degree scholars are also welcome to apply. Upon full participation a student will be awarded 6 ECTS points. The working language of the summer school is English.

Deadline for application: 15 May 2015.
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Inclusive and encompassing theories are missing from the conceptualizations of late socialism. Late socialism is often squeezed between Stalinism and perestroika both in popular discourses and in many historical research projects. The period is essentially seen as a milder continuation of Stalinism (e.g. in discussions of the nature of regime) or as a prelude to perestroika (e.g. in discussions of consumerism). The political climate in Eastern Europe and the opportunities of archival access have both favoured the study of the first half of the Soviet Union’s existence over its second half. It is time to change that trend. The recent interest in the post war processes of modernization in the West, the preoccupation with the prehistories of deregulation and globalisation, but also with the recent events in Ukraine (Moldova, Georgia), call for revisiting and studying diverse histories of Soviet Union in comparative contexts.

The course provides the students methodological and practical knowledge on most relevant theories and approaches to the period of late socialism. It is designed to build up both analytical and practical skills, consisting of an intense series of plenary lectures and seminars and combining macro-level discussions with case studies and student workshops. Faculty includes Juliane Fürst (University of Bristol and Harvard University Davies Center), Polly Jones (University of Oxford), Catriona Kelly (University of Oxford, President of ASEEES) and Alexei Yurchak (University of California, Berkeley) as key-note speakers. The rest of faculty combines local and foreign researchers from the fields of art history, post-colonial studies, history of Soviet ethnicity and identity, science, urbanity, media consumption, and local elites, among the other themes.

Course director: Uku Lember
Course program committee: Linda Kaljundi, Andres Kurg, Uku Lember, Piret Peiker

Registration, practicalities (general):;
Student coordinator: Teet Teinemaa ( University
Tallinn Summer School
Room: T217, Narva mnt 25,
10120 Tallinn, Estonia
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