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The Union of What? Soviet Internationalism Thirty Years After the Fall of the USSR

Call for Submissions to The Russian Review

When the Soviet Union collapsed, contemporaries heralded the emergence of fifteen separate republics; yet nearly three decades on, it is still common to refer to the “post-Soviet space.” Important questions remain about what it was that knit the Soviet Union together and why connections across national boundaries forged in the Soviet period remain relevant within and beyond Eurasia a generation after the union’s demise. 

Dismissed until recently as an ideological fig leaf concealing the USSR’s “true” regional and global ambitions, Soviet internationalism has received renewed attention among scholars who take it seriously as a conceptual framework and practice that ran through Soviet life and shaped engagement with the broader world. Recent scholarship has unearthed Soviet internationalism’s intellectual underpinnings and traced its influence in a wide range of areas, including foreign policy, education, art, literature, cinema, and everyday life. Scholars have also pointed to its legacies, both among the diverse populations of contemporary Russia and Eurasia and in Russia’s current relations with Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Soviet internationalism offers a way to connect the study of nationality, a subject that has received ample attention in our field, with the study of race, which has been comparatively neglected. 

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Soviet Union’s fall, The Russian Review invites submissions for a special issue on Soviet internationalism and its legacies with the goal of furthering the study of the region’s diversity and examining it in a global context. We plan to publish a cluster of articles considering internationalism within the multiethnic Soviet Union, across the socialist camp, and in relations with post-colonial countries throughout the globe. The cluster will consider the ways that Soviet internationalism built cultural, political, and personal connections across national boundaries but also sometimes asserted racial and ethnic hierarchies in an imperial fashion. It will compare and contrast practices of internationalism with manifestations of nationalism, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism. It will look at interactions between internationalism and local intellectual traditions, and investigate internationalism as a lived experience in school and university clubs, pioneer camps, and international forums and festivals. Chronologically, it will span Soviet internationalism’s early development, its expansion and operation during the Cold War, and its afterlives in the contemporary world. Finally, the cluster will engage internationalism and its legacies from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, literature, art, film and media studies, anthropology, political science, and sociology.

To be considered for the cluster, please email a 500-word abstract to rusrev@ku.edu outlining your argument, methods, and sources by September 1, 2020. Authors of selected abstracts will be notified soon after and will be expected to submit a complete article manuscript (up to 9,000 words, including endnotes) by December 18, 2020. The cluster will then go through the journal’s typical process of double-blind peer review, with oversight from the editorial collegium. Authors whose abstracts are not selected for inclusion in the cluster will still have the opportunity to submit their article manuscript for consideration as an individual submission.

 


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