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Carl Plantinga and Malcolm Turvey

Friends and colleagues of Stephen Prince were shocked and saddened to learn of his death at the age of sixty-five on 30 December 2020 in Blacksburg, Virginia, after a brief illness. Steve was a good friend to many, a prolific scholar with a deep love of cinema, a beloved teacher, a trusted and valued colleague, and a generous mentor to younger scholars.

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This interview with Paul Schrader, conducted by Todd Berliner, took place on 19 June 2020 as part of the annual meeting of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI). It has been edited and condensed for clarity. We are grateful to Mr. Schrader for his participation and permission to publish this transcription, to Professor Berliner for conducting the interview, and to Professor Carl Plantinga for organizing it.

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Remembering the Second World War in Post-Soviet Educational Media

Barbara Christophe

Analyzing representations of the Second World War in Russian—and in one case, Lithuanian—educational media, the contributions to this special issue respond to three important anniversaries: the eightieth anniversary of the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in 2019, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Second World War victory in 2020, and the eightieth anniversary of the German invasion of the USSR in 2021. Moreover, they investigate the commemoration of historical events which clearly gained in significance after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was only in the mid-1990s that post-Soviet Russia first introduced annual parades on Victory Day, 9 May, which used to take place only every five years during Soviet times. And it was again the government of Boris Yeltsin that expanded the Russian mnemonic calendar and introduced the Day of Mourning on 22 June, the day Germany invaded the USSR in 1941. Finally, the articles in this special issue also intervene in a lively academic debate on the political and cultural significance of the single most important affair in post-Soviet memory cultures—a term used here explicitly in order to avoid invoking the idea of a culturally coherent social space, but rather to denote all the different forms and modes of recalling the past enacted by a broad range of different actors, at times openly competing with each other. In an attempt to carve out the specific shape of these interventions, I will begin with an outline of the main achievements and lines of argument in the impressive number of recent studies that have explored the dynamics of remembering the Second World War, usually referred to as the Great Patriotic War in post-Soviet Russia. I will then present an overview of the contributions to this volume.

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Memory Makers of the Great Patriotic War

Curator Agency and Visitor Participation in Soviet War Museums during Stalinism

Anne E. Hasselmann


In the wake of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviet museum curators began to establish a museal depiction of the war. This article analyzes these early beginnings of Soviet war commemoration and the curtailing of its surprising heterogeneity in late Stalinism. Historical research has largely ignored the impact of Soviet museum workers (muzeishchiki) on the evolution of Russian war memory. Archival material from the Red Army Museum, now renamed the Central Museum of the Armed Forces, in Moscow and the Belarus Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk documents the unfolding of locally specific war exhibitions which stand in stark contrast to the later homogenized official Soviet war narrative. Yet war memory was not created unilaterally by the curators. Visitors also participated in its making, as the museum guestbooks demonstrate. As “sites of commemoration and learning,” early Soviet war exhibitions reveal the agency of the muzeishchiki and the involvement of the visitors in the “small events” of memory creation.

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Not That Grateful

Survivor Resistance in Rape Culture

Janet Wesselius

Gay, Roxane, ed. 2018. Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. New York: Harper.

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Visual Responses to Audio-Visual Asynchrony in Music Videos

Thorbjörn Swenberg and Simon Carlgren


Audio-visual rhythm can be achieved in a variety of ways, in film as well as in music videos. Here, we have studied human visual responses to video editing with regard to musical beats, in order to better understand the role of visual rhythm in an audio-visual flow. While some suggest that music videos should maintain synchrony in the audio-visual rhythm, and others claim that music videos should be rhythmically loose in their structure, there is a functional aspect of vision and hearing that reacts to the juxtaposition of audio and visual rhythms. We present empirical evidence of cognitive effects, as well as perceptual differences with attentional effects, for viewers watching music videos cut on-beat and off-beat.

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(Para)normalizing Rape Culture

Possession as Rape in Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Annika Herb


Contemporary Young Adult literature is a favored genre for exploring sexual assault, yet rarely interrogates the social structures underpinning rape culture. In its representation of heterosexual relationships, Young Adult paranormal romance offers insight into the processes and structures that uphold rape culture. Genre tropes normalize abusive behavior and gender ideals, demonstrating the explicit and implicit construction of rape culture, culminating in the depiction of supernatural possession analogous to rape. Here, I reflect on power, control, rape culture, and girlhood in a textual analysis of Nina Malkin's Swoon, Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, and Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Covenant. A constructive reading reflects implicit cultural discourses presented to the girl reader, who can apply this to her own negotiation of girlhood.

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“Presentism” Versus “Path Dependence”?

Reflections on the Second World War in Russian Textbooks of the 1990s

Serguey Ehrlich


In the fifteen Russian textbooks of the 1990s examined in this article, the Second World War is subject to three levels of reflection: language, narrative templates, and the representation of contested events. The language used in the textbooks represents an amalgam of Soviet propagandistic clichés and uncritically adopted Western terminology. These textbooks also retain the same “schematic narrative template” of the Second World War, based on references to the expulsion of foreign enemies, found in Soviet textbooks. Significant transformations can be observed only in the representation of events, in which the authors’ harsh criticism of Stalin's crimes comes to the fore. Yet these superficial changes did not alter the basic structures of history learning, which was one of the main reasons why working through the past during the Yeltsin era almost failed.

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Katy Lewis

Gilmore, Leigh, and Elizabeth Marshall. 2019. Witnessing Girlhood: Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing. New York: Fordham University Press.

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“Russia My History”

A Hi-Tech Version of an Old History Textbook

Olga Konkka


This article analyzes the presentation of the Second World War in the multimedia “history parks” of the Russian educational project “Russia My History.” In these exhibition complexes, modern digital technologies offer visitors a “revolutionary” way to discover Russian history. The article first explores the history and conception of the Russia My History project, as a pedagogical tool, a digital museum, a historical narrative, and a response to current memory policies. Next, I focus on the exhibition dedicated to the Second World War (specifically, on its technical, visual, structural, lexical, and historical aspects) and assess the impact of the digitalization and commodification of history on the traditionally rigid official Russian memory of the war. I attempt to show that instead of exploiting digital technologies to develop new approaches to the history of the war, the exhibition neglects the potential of multimedia and provides a narrative close to the one used in Soviet and post-Soviet textbooks.