Empire in the Album: Soviet Travel Photography and Generational Memories of Socialism Today

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February 27 @ 12:00 pm2:00 pm

Please join us for a talk with Olga Shevchenko, Professor of Sociology at Williams College.

This ‘show-and-tell” talk examines the ideological messages embedded in vernacular photographs preserved in private archived of former Soviet citizens. More specifically, it will focus on vernacular photography as a micro-technology of power, one that translates into everyday terms and naturalizes for subsequent generations such profoundly ideological constructs as empire, nation and citizenship.

Olga Shevchenko is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Williams College (Massachusetts), where she teaches courses on social theory, postsocialism, sociology of consumer culture, photography, and social memory. In 2002-2003, Shevchenko was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, where she worked on her manuscript, Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow (2009, Indiana University Press). Shevchenko is also the editor of Double Exposure: Memory and Photography (2014, Transaction Publishers). Her articles on post-Soviet political culture, consumption and family photographic archives have appeared in such journals as Europe-Asia StudiesJournal of Consumer Culture and Social Psychology Quarterly, as well as a number of edited volumes and collections. She is currently working with historian Oksana Sarkisova on a collaborative ethnographic project on Soviet family photography and generational memories of socialism, provisionally entitled Snapshot Histories.

From Columbia’s Harriman Institute.


Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room
420 W 118th Street, #1219 International Affairs Building
New York City, NY 10027 United States
(212) 854-5460


Harriman Institute