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Cambridge, MA 02138-4453
Seminar in Ukrainian Studies
Book Talk: “Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine”
Mayhill Fowler, Assistant Professor of History, Director of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, Stetson University
InBeau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine, Mayhill C. Fowler tells the story of the rise and fall of a group of men who created culture both Soviet and Ukrainian. This collective biography showcases new aspects of the politics of cultural production in the Soviet Union by focusing on theater and on the multi-ethnicborderlands. Unlike their contemporaries in Moscow or Leningrad, these artists from the regions have been all but forgotten despite thequality of their art. Beau Monde restores the periphery to the center of Soviet culture. Sources in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Yiddish highlight the important multi-ethnic context and the challengesinherent in constructing Ukrainian culture in a place of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and Jews. Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge traces the growing overlap between the artsand the state in the early Sovietyears, and explains the intertwining of politics and culture in theregion today.
Dr. Mayhill C. Fowler (Ph.D., Princeton; MFA National Theater Conservatory) is assistant professor of history at StetsonUniversity, where she also directs the program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She teaches and researches the culturalhistory of Russia and Eastern Europe, with a focus on Ukraine, and is interested in how social and political structures shape entertainment, representation, and live performance. She has published and presented widely on culture in Ukraine—including on Les Kurbas, early Soviet film, multi-ethnicity andtheater, and war and the stage. Her first book– Beau Monde at Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine (Toronto, 2017)—tellsthe story of how a very rich cultural center became a cultural periphery through a collective biography of young artists and officials in the 1920s and 1930s. Her secondproject, The Military-Entertainment Complex in the USSR: Theater onthe Frontlines of Socialism, investigates how we entertain soldiers, through the lens of the former Red Army Theater in Lviv. She also thinks about the Soviet actress, Yiddish theater, and 19th century itinerant theater clans. She was the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Fellow at Toronto in 2012-2013, held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’sUkrainian Research Institute, andtaught cultural history at the Catholic University in Lviv.
This event will be available on YouTubefor those who can’t join us in person.
Room S-050, CGIS South, Harvard University