All posts in category Gulag

Keeping Faith with the Party

I’ve been working on my research project on narratives of imprisonment, hard labour and exile for several years now, and am at last making concrete progress with my book. While I’m completing it, I plan to use the blog to organize my notes by writing short reflection pieces on primary and secondary sources as I read […]

Bedtime reading

A fit of nostalgia following the recent death of the actor Lewis Collins has seen me revisiting old episodes of The Professionals, which was probably the first grown-up TV series I watched as a kid. It’s very entertaining, not least in the way it confounds expectations. The default position may be causal sexism, for instance […]

Women in the Gulag

I always welcome new contributions to the study of the Gulag, particularly (because it is a dimension that remains much less explored than the history) those that focus on personal experiences of the Soviet labour camp system and the writings associated with it, so I was looking forward to reading Paul R. Gregory’s Women of […]

New article: Knowing Russia’s Convicts

This week has finally seen the publication of my article ‘Knowing Russia’s Convicts: the Other in Narratives of Imprisonment and Exile in the Late Imperial Era’ in Europe-Asia Studies. It’s a special issue based on the Villains and Victims workshop which I wrote about previously, and it contains some great articles that really reflect what an […]

New publications: the spatial turn

I have a couple of recent publications to announce. The first is on Shalamov: ‘Mapping Space as Factography: Human Traces and Negated Genres in Varlam Shalamov’s Kolymskie rasskazy,’ Slavonica, 19.1 (April 2013), 1-17 ) (£). The second, co-authored with John Levin, is  ‘Mapping Machines: Transformations of the Petersburg Text’, The Spatial Turn in Literary Studies, Primerjalna književnost (Comparative Literature) 36.2 (2013). […]

Russian prison experience

Last week I participated in a workshop titled ‘Punishment as a Crime? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Prison Experience in Russian Culture’, at Uppsala University’s Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The programme, which is available here, was notable for its wide range of papers and approaches. The imperial, soviet and post-soviet periods were all covered, and […]

Four short links: Gulag

A number of Gulag sites have come or returned to my attention recently, so this is a quick round-up of the best (for reasons I won’t go into, I’m rather short of time at the moment and the longer posts I’m trying to write are somewhat behind schedule). I’ve not included the virtual museums I […]

Varlam Shalamov and the art of defecation

With apologies to any readers of a sensitive disposition, this is an important subject. Pretty much every Gulag narrative makes mention of the primitive toilet facilities and prison cells and camps – the ubiquitous and foul-smelling parasha (slop bucket) and arrangements for its emptying – and there are plenty of references to feelings of shame […]

Dostoevsky and the Gulag

I’ve started work on a paper on the depiction of criminals in labour camp writing for a workshop later this summer, and as Dostoevsky is one of my starting points, this has led me to revisit the broader question of the role of recurrent references to him in Gulag literature. This post is not intended […]

Gulag Voices: two books

This year has seen the publication of two books titled Gulag Voices: an anthology of memoirs edited by Anne Applebaum, and a collection of oral histories by Jehanne Gheith and Katherine Jolluck, so this seems like a good opportunity to look at both of them. I had previously read all but one of the extracts […]