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  • Author: Adrienne M. Harris x
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Gendered Images and Soviet Subjects

How the Komsomol Archive Enriched My Understanding of Gender in Soviet War Culture

Adrienne M. Harris

In this article, I detail how archival finds helped me develop questions on World War II martyr heroes and their role in Soviet culture and Russian collective memory. I consider how one might approach silences, read discrepancies in archival holdings, and extrapolate meaning from various kinds of documents. Considering that the Russian State Archive of Sociopolitical History Komsomol archive allows one to study the evolution of gender via the continuous reshaping of feminine and masculine ideals for Soviet youth, I discuss how the archive might open up new research areas and prompt additional questions for gender historians, and lead one to reconsider power and authority in the Soviet past.

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After “A Youth on Fire“

The Woman Veteran in Iulia Drunina's Postwar Poetry

Adrienne M. Harris

The article uses Soviet poet Iuliia Drunina's deeply personal and o en autobiographical poetry as a lens through which to view the woman veteran's experience, especially during the time of the state-promoted cult of World War II and the erosion of the cult during perestroika. Gender and World War II remain consistent themes in Drunina's poetry, but in her oeuvre, one finds an evolution in how the poet-veteran relates to the war. From 1942 on, Drunina consciously assumed the role of the voice for women soldiers, but as the war receded into the past and the number of veterans dwindled, Drunina began to write more frequently on behalf of veterans of both sexes. This article details numerous war and gender-related themes: gendered otherness during the war, demobilization, stereotypes of women soldiers, the sacred nature of the war, the duty to remember, front-line friendship, and the persistence of the war in veterans' lives.