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CREES Noon Lecture. “A Portrait of a Soviet Woman as the Citizen Soldier.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

Anna Krylova, associate professor of history, Duke University. Sponsor: CREES.

The talk explores the historical phenomenon of Soviet young women’s en masse volunteering and participation in World War II combat. Krylova asks how a largely patriarchal society with traditional gender values such as Stalinist Russia in the 1930s managed to merge notions of violence, soldierhood, and womanhood into a first conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces. In her talk, Krylova analyzes the ways the complicated, often contradictory cultural dynamics, personal agendas, and state and military policies of the 1930s Stalinist regime enabled a cohort of Soviet young women to think about themselves as “women soldiers” and what this identity meant to them and their contemporaries before, during, and after the war.

Krylova’s study on Stalinist official culture, education, paramilitary training, military, and popular, but far from uncontested, conceptions of women as soldiers is deeply implicated into transnational settings and current interdisciplinary debates. It directly engages with and rethinks the following problematics: first, the role that the modern state, in its democratic and autocratic/communist incarnations, plays in shaping societal identities and gender roles; second, the meaning and place of violence in the construction of the modern citizen; and third, historical mutability and variability of gender norms.

Anna Krylova is associate professor of modern Russian history. Her research centers on cultural, gender, political, and military history of twentieth-century Russia and on Soviet and European experiences with mechanized violence unleashed by World War II. Her interests also include historiographical and theoretical problematics of historical interpretation and writing.