Using the case of Soviet visual culture, this masterclass asks how scholars from various disciplines can productively engage with images. Which analytical tools are available? What is the relationship between text and image? Was Stalinist culture logocentric, was it, in other words, dominated by one category of signs? What kinds of logic become operative with visual signs, is there such a thing as an irreducible visuality - is "a picture worth a thousand words"? We will examine a variety of images, ranging from newspaper photographs to agitprop posters to easel paintings. Teaching formats include hands-on groupwork with images, general discussion, and a bit of lecturing.
Instructor: Jan Plamper is Professor of History at the University of Limerick. From 2012-19 he was Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He specializes in symbolic politics/visual history, the history of emotions and sensory history, and the history of migration. His publications include a visual history: The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (Yale UP, 2012).
Moderator: Alissa Klots, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh
REQUIRED READING (FREE): David Shneer, “Picturing Grief: Soviet Holocaust Photography at the Intersection of History and Memory,”American Historical Review 115, no. 1 (2010): 28-52.
Available here: https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article/115/1/28/17666?login=true