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Authors: Mankovskaya, Elizaveta
Advisors: Reischl, Katherine
Contributors: Slavic Languages and Literatures Department
Keywords: construction flims
construction literature
history of senses
production novel
Soviet subjectivity
Subjects: Slavic studies
Film studies
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: "Under Construction: Time, Space and Embodied Labor in Soviet Construction Narratives Post-Stalin" explores representations of late Soviet construction work and spaces, which have rarely drawn attention in cultural studies. Establishing key differences and continuities with the earlier construction narratives, I show that these later texts, broadly defined, allowed readers, writers, directors and viewers to grapple with the meaning of late socialism and their role and aspirations as its subjects. I describe the poetics of late Soviet construction texts and argue that their focus on feeling and being Soviet in the now suggests that despite their deep embeddedness in the state agenda and state control, they are much more in sync with the overall ethos of late Soviet cultural production, with its hallmark features of open-endedness, focus on the individual and the nuanced, than with the master-plot and devices of the socialist realist canon. By examining ego-documents, literary and film fiction, including approved works as well as those halted by censorship, the dissertation establishes the parameters of late Soviet construction narratives as a phenomenon reaching outside of the traditional binary of state-approved versus underground cultural production, and argues that construction can be viewed as an uber-narrative structuring late Soviet culture across these divisions.Chapter 1 looks at a set of ego-documentary accounts of construction in the city of Tolyatti (1953-1978) and argues for a fragile, paradoxical ephemerality of the chronotope of post-Stalinist construction. I show that the late 1950s give rise to a distinct narrative approach capturing a fleeting sense of the present and presence of the construction site. Chapter 2 examines literary accounts with a case-study of Thirst-Quenching (Utolenie zhazhdy, 1959-1962) by Yury Trifonov, arguing that Thaw construction narratives frame the quest for a meaningful involvement with the state agenda post-Stalin in perceptual terms and mobilize the subject through the individual and idiosyncratic nature of a sensory experience. Chapter 3 examines time, space and the peculiar fragility of late Soviet construction through the lens of senses in cinematic narratives showing its further diversion from the socialist realist master narrative of achievement, of overcoming obstacles and of the suffering working body.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Slavic Languages and Literatures

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