Red Autobiographies

I recently published a review of Igal Halfin‘s Red Autobiographies: Initiating the Bolshevik Self in the journal NEP Era: Soviet Russia, 1921-1928 (vol. 5, 2011). For those who want a taste of my academic work, here’s the review’s opening paragraph:

For more than fifteen years, Igal Halfin has been a master craftsman in the academic cottage industry of “Soviet subjectivity.”  His work is essential reading, and his texts provide both historical and methodological inroads for the ways discourse enveloped Soviet citizens’ self-representation. While his arguments remain controversial, their influence on our understanding of Soviet subject formation cannot be denied.  It was Halfin along with Jochen Hellbeck who turned Michel Foucault into a permanent fixture in Soviet Studies. Halfin has urged us to take language, narrative structure and their deployment seriously. He even introduced a distinct Halfinian lexicon: “the self,” “brotherhood of the elect,” “the soul,” “towards the light,” “subjectivity,” “conversion,” “poetics,” and “eschatology.” Whatever one thinks of his methods and conclusions, one cannot pose questions about the Soviet subject without engaging Igal Halfin’s work.

You can download a pdf of the review here.

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