Until recently, the historiography in the field has been dominated by books researched during the Cold War, including works by Sylvia Margulies, David Caute, and particularly Paul Hollander's Political Pilgrims New York: Oxford University Press, 1981 which appeared in its fourth edition in 1998. However the movement of ideas and goods was more fluid, which explains the coining of the Nylon curtain nickname. But others, like Theodore Dreiser, who described the poor qualities of the Soviet Union was still able to see advancement in industrial pursuits and predicted its growth. So it makes since to see that the Soviet approach to cultural diplomacy during this time should mirror that. He mentions Martin Malia several times in the book, and in his introduction references Stephen Kotkin as one of the people who helped him. Drawing on the declassified archival records of the agencies charged with crafting the international image of communism, David-Fox shows how Soviet efforts to sell the Bolshevik experiment abroad through cultural diplomacy shaped and were, in turn, shaped by the ongoing project of defining the Soviet Union from within. While many visitors were profoundly affected by their Soviet tours, so too was the Soviet system itself: the early experiences of building showcases and teaching outsiders to perceive the future-in-the-making constitute a neglected part of the emergence of Stalinism at home.
He tells his story from the perspective of Russia, of 'the West,' and of the space between. Showcasing the Great Experiment fully succeeds in 're-internationalizing' Soviet history, and establishing crucial connections between the inner dynamics of the regime and its efforts to globalize its appeal. It makes me think that if Russians have gone through several cycles of opening itself to the West for modernization and inviting ideas in and then shutting them out, then Russians must have an underlying feeling of inferiority that is consistent through time. He is the author of Revolution of the Mind: Higher Learning among the Bolsheviks, 1918-1929 and a founding editor of Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. Showcasing the Great Experiment fully succeeds in 're-internationalizing' Soviet history, and establishing crucial connections between the inner dynamics of the regime and its efforts to globalize its appeal. Showcasing the Great Experiment provides the most far-reaching account of Soviet methods of cultural diplomacy innovated to influence Western intellectuals and foreign visitors. I have always felt that to understand the lure of Stalin, why the Georgian is a cult figure, and his brand of communism, you have to listen to the music his regime churned out—not a dry reading, of course, but one by a master of the baritone, or a very masculine alternative… or just, I reiterate, the Red Army Choir.
It seemed that the Soviet approach to cultural diplomacy mirrored that of their domestic policy during different periods of time. The book shows how Soviet suspicion of the West in Stalinï¿½s time coexisted with an almost obsessive attention to Western opinions of the Soviet Union and a deep desire to win the admiration of Western intellectuals. Having been in the Second World Urbanity class last semester, I remember being very surprised at how much the two were focused on comparing one another. Registration is free and only takes a moment. The Potemkin Village Dilemma 4.
Going East: Friends and Enemies 8. The Western gaze, on the other hand, crucially affected internal developments and even shaped the direction of the great experiment in social and cultural not to mention hydroelectric engineering. Wells, the Webbs, Romain Rolland, Theodore Dreiser, Lion Feuchtwanger, and others--Gorky's experience of the Soviet gulag is richly contextualized in terms of the motivations and biography of the visitor, the history and circumstance of the sites visited, and what contemporary evidence exists for what transpired during the visit itself. This reading, combined with the extensive archival research and insightful analysis, make this a remarkable transnational study. The book shows how Soviet suspicion of the West in Stalinï¿½s time coexisted with an almost obsessive attention to Western opinions of the Soviet Union and a deep desire to win the admiration of Western intellectuals.
I appreciated that he notes all the specific organizations that were involved in the Soviet cultural diplomacy, while also explaining their impact on citizen domestic and abroad. This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015 at 9:02 am and is filed under. Party leaders sought to train the new intelligentsia by educating these people both in skills as well as the vision and language of the party. In the other class I am taking with Prof. Using recently opened Soviet archives, he explores the inner debates of the Communist bureaucracy about the uses of 'showcasing' and of modern 'Potemkin villages. David- Fox utilized the term Sovietophilia, which I believe accurately described a majority of the world for many years. Stalinism involved a belief in Soviet superiority.
However, the Soviet use of cultural diplomacy did not last long. About the Author Michael David-Fox is Professor in the Department of History and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. David-Fox's book skillfully combines Soviet and international, political and institutional, and cultural and intellectual histories. Michael David-Fox, Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union. Using the visits of high-profile foreigners to Russia from 1921 to 1941 as a lens, David-Fox explores Russia's attitude toward the 'West' on the ground and in the mind. You can follow any responses to this entry through the feed.
However, the topic of the book goes far beyond the disciplinary boundaries of Soviet history. The book shows how Soviet suspicion of the West in Stalin´s time coexisted with an almost obsessive attention to Western opinions of the Soviet Union and a deep desire to win the admiration of Western intellectuals. The reader, at least for me, saw this master-servant or superior-inferior relationship instantly. David-Fox provides illuminating and often gripping historical details that ask readers to rethink many important aspects of Soviety history. Especially since this was a time that most people outside of Russia had begun to avoid Russia.
David-Fox's footnotes lead to a vast array of historical scholarship in several European languages. Additionally, we see another writer discuss the prevalence of propaganda in the Soviet Union. Harris—that communism comes from the heart. Setting the revolutionary regime's innovations against the context of the treatment of foreigners in Russia from Muscovy on, Showcasing the Great Experiment argues that interwar Soviet methods mobilizing the intelligentsia for the international ideological contest directly paved the way for the cultural Cold War. Under Stalin, great pains were taken to have foreign visitors confirm that this superiority had, in fact, been achieved. This work should be considered in the wider context of the current scholarly task: the reconceptualization of Soviet and international history in the new post-Soviet post-Sovietological era. For the most part, they were left-leaning intellectuals and artists who sympathised with the Soviet cause.
Unfortunately by the height of the Great Purges, the diplomatic relations soured. Another interesting point David-Fox explained was the influence Russia and the Soviet Union played on the Western and Eastern worlds. Using recently opened Soviet archives, he explores the inner debates of the Communist bureaucracy about the uses of 'showcasing' and of modern 'Potemkin villages. Additionally, it was interesting to learn how Soviet ideology mixed with Western perspectives. There was a change with Stalinism where Soviets were no longer looking to the West for ideas on how to modernize or improve their backwardness. While many visitors were profoundly affected by their Soviet tours, so too was the Soviet system itself: the early experiences of building showcases and teaching outsiders to perceive the future-in-the-making constitute a neglected part of the emergence of Stalinism at home. Michael David-Fox contends that each side critically examined the other, negotiating feelings of inferiority and superiority, admiration and enmity, emulation and rejection.
Like many of the other books we have read this semester, the book employs new sources from the Soviet archives in order to explain and define Soviet behavior. Michael David-Fox is one among a number of scholars, including David C. These interwar Soviet methods of mobilizing the intelligentsia for the international ideological contest, he argues, directly paved the way for the cultural Cold War. Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921—1941. So essentially the visitors and moderators Stalinist Westernizers were the same, and had a very good relationship through mutual attraction and admiration. Some are quite catchy and can get stuck in your head. The interwar pilgrimage of these Western intellectuals and fellow-travelers remains one of the most notorious episodes in political and intellectual history.