Talk: The Emotional Landscape of Revolution: Russia 1905-1925

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Mark D. Steinberg

December 16, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

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In this talk, I consider the shifting, tumultuous, and consequential field of emotions that contemporaries perceived as defining public life in Russia during its “revolutionary” age. I take this story from the stillborn revolution of 1905, into global war and transnational revolution, through a bloody civil war into the first years of peaceful “socialist construction.” Often categorized as “the public mood,” a trope in Russian journalism and politics in the first half of the 20th century, these emotions ranged from what was described as dark anguish to joyful enthusiasm. Texts to be considered include working-class poetry, public art, appeals, petitions, and memoirs. Topics range from street protests to efforts to create liberated new men and women, including sexually. Key elements woven into this story of revolution and feeling include religion, violence, and language. I link all of these stories and themes with a methodological concern: how the study of emotion, that most elusive of subjectivities, illuminates experience and expression.

Mark Steinberg is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He previously taught at Harvard and Yale Universities. His scholarly research and writing have focused on labor relations, popular culture, emotions, religion, violence, revolution, and the modern city. His major research fellowships and grants over the years have included SSRC, NEH, IREX, Carnegie, and Guggenheim. His recent books include Proletarian Imagination: Self, Modernity, and the Sacred in Russia, 1910-1925 (Cornell, 2002); Petersburg Fin-de-Siecle (Yale, 2011); the seventh through ninth (2018) editions of A History of Russia with Nicholas Riasanovsky (Oxford); and The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921 (Oxford 2017). He is currently working on two new books: Russian Utopians and, for something completely different, The Crooked and the Straight in the City: Moral Problems of Everyday Public Life in Odessa, Bombay, and New York City, 1919-1939.

Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, East Asian Center, Germanic and Slavic Studies, MAT, EALCS, Comparative Culture, and the Departments of History, Religious Studies, History of Art & Architecture, English, and Film Studies

* This talk is the conference keynote of “An Emotional Revolution: Loves and Loyalties in Imperial Japan: 1868-1945,” which is additionally sponsored by UCSB Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, College of Letters & Science, and Japanese Arts & Globalizations Research Group.


December 16, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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