Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

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Eeva Korteniemi
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aleksanteri-fellows [at] helsinki.fi

Aleksanteri Institute
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FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Telephone: +358 (0) 2941 23544

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi
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Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2016-2017

Olga Shevchenko, Williams College, USA
“Snapshot Histories: The Afterlife of Socialism in Russian Family Albums”
(May - June 2017)



Biography:
Olga Shevchenko is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Williams College (Massachusetts), where she teaches courses on social theory, postsocialism, sociology of consumer culture, visual culture, and social memory. She is the author of Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow (2009, Indiana University Press), and the editor of Double Exposure: Memory and Photography (2014, Transaction Publishers). Her articles on post-Soviet political culture, consumption and family photographic archives have appeared in such journals as Europe-Asia StudiesJournal of Consumer Culture, Slavonica and Social Psychology Quarterly, as well as a number of edited volumes and collections.

Short description of ongoing research:
Dr. Shevchenko will spend time at the Aleksanteri Institute completing a book project on the popular memories of the Soviet era in Russia, as viewed through the prism of family stories and photographic collections. This manuscript, provisionally titled Snapshot Histories: The Afterlife of Socialism in Russian Family Photographs, draws on a combination of in-depth interviews with a cross-section of Russians, ethnographic fieldwork, and analysis of images from specific domestic archives (collected and analyzed in collaboration with Dr. Oksana Sarkisova of Central European University). The book builds on a number of papers that Shevchenko and Sarkisova have previously published or presented on topic such as: Soviet amateur travel photography, generational conflicts of interpretation of the family past, personal album as a biographical project, Soviet-era portraits in Russian domestic interiors, and a number of others.

During her two months at the Institute, Dr. Shevchenko plans to complete the final chapter of the manuscript, dedicated to the lacunae and silences that inevitably accompany any commentary on personal photography in a politically charged context. She will also synthesize and revise the existing chapters with an eye to the overarching themes of the book: tensions between the official politics of remembering and private family memories in Russia, the dynamics of generational exchange, and finally the theme of photography as a “banal,” or everyday manifestation of ideology.

Email: oshevche[AT]williams.edu

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Sanna Turoma, Markku Kangaspuro