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   Course Title    The History of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 20th century: Gender Approach
Lecturer    Helena Zhidkova
Institution    Samara State University
Country    Russian Federation


The course "The History of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 20th century: Gender Approach" is an integral part of the "Russia, Western Europe and the United States in the 19th and 20th century from Gender Perspective" currently preparing by research staff members of Samara Center for Gender Studies for History Department of Samara State University.

This course is an interdisciplinary one and will provide an interweaving of the concepts, notions and theories used by different social sciences (history, sociology, Gender and Cultural Studies).

The official history of our country is constructed in the frameworks of male paradigm, which is culturally and ideologically determined. It seems to be important to reveal the history of . ordinary people. /. average man and woman. about their survival during the tragic 30ies and post-war periods while the official history is still not revised. Usually the political elite, economic processes and mass movement are in the focus of social research while the sphere of private life is not analyzed at all.

This course covers nearly one semester and consists of 20 academic hours. The course is designed as a colloquium with the primary concern on lecture material, group discussion and writing. Students are asked to submit a few page review of the readings (they choose two-three items from the list) by the end of the semester. They are strongly encouraged to have comparative and critical dimension in their writings.

The course is not a narrative of events but rather a revision of academic interpretation with the emphasis on crucial changes in mentality and structures affected everyday life, consumption models, religion, education, and cultural trends.



The course is designed for senior students (the 4th year) who are familiar with the history of Russia from the previous regular courses taught at the Department. Needless to say, the above mandatory courses (from prehistory up to modern history) present traditional methodology. The course "The History of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 20th century: Gender Approach" serves to provide students with further details on new tendencies in history development and general background information on interdisciplinary methods. It will enrich official research scheme and help to integrate the findings of Gender and Cultural Studies into the solid educational system of the Department.



This course combines the traditional "lecture-seminar" system with new forms of teaching such as Internet seminars (Samara State University has an Internet Center), and an oral history workshop (final seminar).

The course aims to support research initiatives of students and to stimulate their analytical and critical approach toward the official historical texts. In conjunction with this, the course goals to highlight and stress gender stereotypes still existing in our education.







The first two introductory lectures help students to recognize well-known material on Russian and Soviet history within a broadly interdisciplinary perspective.

By presenting the status of new interdisciplinary method and results of Gender Studies. research in the field of Russian History, the students will learn about the various questions and methods of critique: the arguing point of basic terms and applicability to Russian History; what are the latest thesis; what is the core critique towards . male-stream history.


Historicizing Gender or Gendering Our Past? Aspect of historiography

"Gender: a useful category of historical analysis". Women. s Studies - Feminist Studies . Gender Studies: does it have any correlation with academic history? Traditional primary sources in the light of gender analysis. The development of new approach and the basic works by Joan Scott, Gisella Bock, Karren Offen and Russian scholars (N.L.Pushkareva, S.Aivazova, M.M.Malysheva).


Russian national character from the gender perspective

Symbolic realities of gender: the construct of femininity and masculinity in the national arts and folklore; cultural symbols: Russian soul, Mother Earth (Mat. -Syra Zemlia) and Russian people (narod); Russian religious philosophers from the beginning of the 20th century about "Russian wife".

The rigidity of gender roles in patriarchal society and Domostroi. Traditional social models and novelty of the bourgeois epoch and social structure: the nobility, the clergy, the bourgeoisie, kuptsy (merchants), raznochintsy (people of mixed ranks), muzhiki and baby (rural population), Cossack men and women.

New signs: kursistka (a student of university-equivalent courses for women), barushnia (a noble young lady) and . a new woman. (emancipe).

Historical roots of phenomenon Russian baba and muzhik; transformation of this phenomenon throughout the century; emancipation and its impact upon men and women.


Revolutions and Bolshevism. Soviet system in gender dimension

Shaping the history of totalitarian culture and shaping the one. s own personal history. Soviet type of emancipation; public and private distinction; the historical and biographical context of famous soviet women: loosing gender identity or creation of a new one? Variations on the New Soviet Woman.

New moral order and social politics towards a "soviet man" based on class origin and regardless to ethnicity and gender. Ideological controversy of abortion and contraception.

Soviet culture from the gender perspective.


Collectivization and Industrialization: the evolution of notion "Soviet Man".

Between city and countryside: modernization; new pattern of social mobility; changing cultural patterns and the system of social control; the Great Purge: male and female stories. The intervention of the State into all spheres of private and public life. New Economic Policy (NEP) and the social portrait of nepmany.

The deprivation and decline of old social groups; kulaki and mass move (re-settlement) of population


Second World War: Unknown Face

Fictionalizing Soviet history: the story of figures, myths, facts and a lack of facts.

War in the social memory, the white sports in his-story and her-story. The ways of remembering . official and popular.

The multi-level mechanism of exclusion of civic population (women, men, children, elderly people and people of the occupied areas) from the War History.

An idealized worker: Stakhanovism; ideological mobilization and pressure.


"The Thaw": the change of cultural patterns

In this lecture we will focus on obstacles, alien voices and limitations to thinking and writing freely. Particular attention devoted to the intellectuals and dissidents who raised question marks related to gender. Stagnation Period and underground culture.

New literary trends, new names, journals, and films: interest to private sphere, gender relations and new cultural signs. Isolation and influence of Western culture; urbanisation and daily culture (housing, living conditions, fashion, child care etc.)


Perestroika and Post-Soviet Development: the New Agenda

Gender-blind-character of transformation process.

Interpreting gender: post-soviet identity; the sexual revolution and its consequences; double moral standards and sexual education; cultural representations of gender images in the visual arts, advertising and media. The turn to the national roots and features.

In this lecture we also will examine the language that is used to talk about gender issues in mass media.


Regional History: a . hidden. place for gender discourse.

New trends in the perception of history: history "from below" and oral history. Narrative pattern, text analysis and memory in history.

Regional development and local history: challenges and opportunities for historical study in provincial Russia.

Students will be asked to carry out oral history, to transcribe one interview and submit it to the class. The theme suggested is "The history of my family in the history of Samara region".


Final Seminar. Discussion of papers.

There will be some discussion on the readings and assignment, personal perception of the question whether category of gender can provide an objective approach to history, and the challenge that gender as a historical notion represents to existing history.


In the bibliography list there is no literature in Russian (with the exception of few new items on Gender Studies) because one can find the detailed bibliography based on chronological principle in the regular courses syllabi issued periodically by the Department.

In addition to this all readings in English (books and xerox copies) will be available at the library of Center for Gender Studies. Students will also get a guide to work in the Internet center of the University.

Students are responsible for having read all the assignments.

A. Mandatory

B. Recommended


A. Scott Joan Wallach (1986) Gender: a Useful Category of Historical Analysis in American Historical Review 91 (4), 1053-75.

D.Atkinson, A.Dallin and G.W.Lapidus, eds. Women in Russia (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977).

Smith, Bonnie G. Changing Lives: Women in European History Since 1700 (Urbana, 1989).


A. Pushkareva N.L. Gendernye issledovania: rozhdenie, stanovlenie, metody i perspectivy v systeme istoricheskih hauk in Zhenscina. Gender. Kultura. M., 1999, p. 15-35

Aivazova, S. "K Istorii Feminizma [On the History of Feminism]," in Obschestvennye Nauki i Sovremennost 1992 No. 6; "Zhenskoe Dvizhenie v Rossii: Traditsii i Sovremennost [The Feminist Movement in Russia: Traditional and Contemporary]," in Obschestvennye Nauki i Sovremennost 1995 No. 2.

Zvereva G. Formy reprezentatsii russkoi istorii v uchebnoi literature 1990-h godov: opyt gendernogo analiza in Pol. Gender. Kultura. Nemetskie I russkie issledovania/ Elisabeth Sheaure and Caloline Heyder. M.: RGGU, 1999, p.

B. Women, the Family and Freedom. The Debate in Documents. Vol. 1, 2/ Susan Bell and Karren Offen (eds.). Stanford University Press, 1983 (first edition).


A. Hosking Geoffrey. Russia. People and Empire. Harvard University Press, 1997 (SEE part 3. "Social classes, religion and culture in Imperial Russia").

B. O. Rourke Shane. Women in a warrior society: Don Cossack women, 1860-1914 in Women in Russia and Ukraine/ Ed. and translated by Rosalind Marsh. Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 47-54.

Kelly Catriona. Teacups and coffins: the culture of Russian merchant women, 1850-1917 in Women in Russia and Ukraine/ Ed. and translated by Rosalind Marsh. Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 55-77.

Greene Diana. Mid-Nineteenth-Century Domestic ideology in Russia in Women in Russian Culture: Projections and Self-Perception. Berghanh Books, 1998, p. 78-98.

Rosenthal Charlotte. The Silver Age: Highpoints for Women? In Women and Society in Russia and the Soviet Union/ Ed. By Linda Edmondson. Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 32-47.

Bernstein Laura. Sonia. s Daughters: Prostitutes and Their Regulation in Imperil Russia. University of California Press, 1995, p. 1-12.

Frierson A. Cathy. Baba: Peasant Icons. Representation of Rural People in late 19th Century Russia. Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 161-180


A. Voronina O. The Mythology of Women. s Emancipation in the USSR as the Foundation for a Policy of Discrimination in Women in Russia. A new era in Russian Feminism/ ed. by Posadskaya A. Verso, 1994, pp. 37 - 56

Clements Barbara Evans. Bolshevik Women. Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 293-313

B. Mironov Boris N. Peasant Popular Culture and the Origins of Soviet Authoritarianism in Cultures in Flux. Lower-Class Values, Practices, and Resistance in Late Imperial Russia/ Stephen P. Frank and Mark D. Steinberg (eds.), Princeton University Press, 1994, pp. 54-73.

Stites, Richard. "Women and the Revolutionary Process in Russia," in Becoming Visible. Women in European History. Ed. by Bridenthal, Renata, Koonz, Claudia, Rowbotham, Stuard, Susan. 2nd ed. (Boston, 1987).


A. Fitzpatrick Sheila. Everyday Stalinism. Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Stites, Richard. The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia. Feminism, Nihilism and Bolshevism, 1860-1930 (Prinston University Press, 1991).

B. Malysheva M.M. Kommunisticheskaya utopia v sud. bah sel. skih zhenschin in Gendernye aspecty socialnoi transformatsii / ed. by Malysheva M.M., Moscow: ISEPN RAN, 1996.


A. Erickson John. Soviet Women at War in WW2 and the Soviet People. Selected Papers from the Fourth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies: Harrogate, 1990, St. Martin. s Press, 1993, p. 50 . 76

Women, the Family and Freedom. The Debate in Documents. Vol. 2 / Susan Bell and Karren Offen (eds.) Stanford University Press, 1983 (first edition), pp. 400-413.


A. Shlapentokh V. Public and Private Life of the Soviet People. Changing values in Post-Stalin Russia. Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 164-182.

B. Sacks Michael Paul. Women, Work and Family in the Soviet Union in Understanding Soviet Society/ ed. by Sacks Michael Paul and Jerry G. Pankhurst, Boston: Unwin Hyman, p. 71-92


A. Russia . Women . Culture. Ed. By Goscilo Helena and B.Holmgren. Indiana University Press, 1996.

B. Rywkin Michael. Soviet Society Today. London . New York, 1989, pp. 134 - 151


A. Roberts Elizabeth. Women and Families: An Oral History, 1940-1970. Blackwell, p. 1-21, 233-241.

The Oral History Reader/ ed. by Robert Perks and Alistar Thomson. Routledge, 1998.

B. Sud. by ludei: Rossia XX vek. Biografii semei kak ob. ekt sociologicheskogo issledovania. Moscow: IS RAN, 1996.

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