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1930s

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Documents (5)

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“Proletarian Journey” in Soviet Ukraine by Fred E. Beal, 1937
Fred Beal’s memoir, A Proletarian Journey: New England, Gastonia, Moscow, was published in New York in 1937. Beal, an American textile worker deeply involved in the labor movement and trade union organizing, resided in the socialist city of “Novyi Kharkiv” [New Kharkiv] from 1931 to 1933, which was established for workers of the Kharkiv Tractor Plant. This city served as a foreign enclave, hosting up to 800 workers and their families. In 1933, prompted by his experiences, Beale published a propaganda pamphlet in English titled Foreign Workers in a Soviet Tractor Plant: A Pictorial Survey of the Life of Foreign Workers and Specialists During the Period of Socialist Construction 1931-1933 (M-L: Iskra revolutsii,...
Image for Response from workers of the USSR to Stalin’s article “Dizzy with Success,” 1930
Response from workers of the USSR to Stalin’s article “Dizzy with Success,” 1930
This report was drafted by the political special service authority of the USSR named the State Political Board (SPD, functioned in 1922-1934) for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CC CP(b)U). It records the reactions of the population of the then Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) to the article by Stalin “Dizziness From Success (Concerning Questions of the Collective-Farm Movement)” published in the Pravda newspaper on March, 2, 1930. The text includes opinions expressed by workers from Ukrainian industrial plants and mines in their private conversations, and in the work teams. They are mostly quite skeptical and critical about collectivization, the activities of the party, and about Stalin in particular....
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“It Feels Good in America”, song about emigration, recorded in 1949
The song highlights the difference between life in America and life back home, in Europe. Unlike the songs that mention disappointment from the unfulfilled hopes in the United States, this piece shows work as a safeguard for higher economic status. America allows immigrants to lead a comfortable lifestyle, one of the attributes of which is a pocket watch. But the conflict of the song is built on the opposition of the wealth of the migrant and the poverty of his wife and children at home. Despite the economically comfortable life, there is a problem of emotional discomfort and a feeling of alienation from family and home.
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“Amidst America, There’s a Solid Brick Inn”, song about emigration
The song covers several topics at the same time. It focuses on the difficulties of migrant work, adaptation in a new country, and separation from the family. New migrants sit and drink in the inn (korchma). The use of this term demonstrates the domestication of a new space through familiar concepts and rituals. At the same time, migrants have an important connection with the “old land”, with Europe, where their wives stayed behind. Contacts with home mainly happen when they transfer money and the man is worried lest the woman gets a lover. From this song, we can also understand that it is more profitable to work in the mines, underground. One such...
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Modules (2)

The Soviet government aimed to profoundly transform the styles and structures of people’s everyday lives, encompassing housing, leisure, and work. Particularly ambitious projects were conceived and executed during the 1920s and 1930s. Workers were at the forefront of Soviet social policy, with the Bolshevik Communist Party depicted in Soviet discourse as the avant-garde of the proletariat, primarily serving the interests of the working class. 
The end of the 19th century through the beginning of the 20th century is known as the period of mass migration from Europe to other continents, when more than 55 million people changed their place of residence. In particular, this process captured the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, where a difficult economic situation, job shortages, and persecutions stirred various groups of the population to leave. Such groups included both Ukrainian and Polish peasants, and Jews from urban centers who were small-scale craftsmen or workers. Most often, they moved to the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil, where labor was needed at factories or farms.

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Syllabi (18)

East-Central Europe played a vital role in the global history of mass migration and experienced an enormous variety of mobility processes in the long 19th and short 20th centuries. For instance, mass emigration from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires and the Soviet Union, human trafficking, labor migration, forced migration during WWI and WWII, refugee crises and asylum, travel, and professional mobility. The voluminous scholarship on this chapter of migration history has lots of gaps and, notably, is almost absent from history curricula. This introductory course broadens our lens to examine the role of migration and mobility for the places where it occurred as well as the experiences of migrants, displaced persons, refugees, and...
This lecture course comparatively and transnationally investigates twentieth-century communism as a modern civilization with a global outreach. It looks at the global spread of communism as an ideology, an everyday experience, and a form of statehood in the Soviet Union, Europe, Asia (i.e.Mao’s China), and post-colonial Africa. With the exception of North America and Australia, communist regimes were established on all continents of the world. The course will examine this historical process from the October Revolution (1917) to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (1986), which marked the demise of the communist state. The emphasis is not just on state-building processes or Cold War politics but primarily on the social, gender, cultural and economic policies that...
The field of social history has achieved the edge of its popularity in 1950-1980s. It was strongly connected with other disciplines, such as economics, demography, sociology, and allowed historians to reach a much wider range of research themes. Since the 1960s, the social history of the Jewish people became important and influential part of the studies. Historians were exploring the possibilities to study Jewish community with new tools and integrating different representatives of Jewish community – workers, women, immigrants, criminals - in a research. Since 1990s historians of Jewish past shifted their interest to cultural studies. However, in the last years, we can see an economic turn, which signifies the search for a...
The aim of the course is to get to know how to analyze examples of visual culture, including: fiction films and documentaries, video, photography. Both contemporary and historical materials will be studied, together with theoretical texts and publications (from the area of film and media studies, anthropology, cultural studies and history. Although images are mostly seen, if you want to really know them and understand them really well, you must not only "see" them but also "read" them, that means to analyze them as a complex message/ text. That is why at our course we will firstly discuss some terms and categories, that would help us to read images such as: composition, convention,...
This course forms a part of Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th-20th Centuries summer school. The syllabus is availible only in Polish.
The course aims to discuss the major military conflicts of the twentieth century from a gender perspective. In doing so, the course covers the history of global and local wars in a wide variety of regions, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. However, rather than surveying a vast number of military conflicts, we will use a case study approach to conduct in-depth analyses of external and internal dynamics of military encounters and the role of gendered violence during them.
In our mini-course we will explore cultural interaction between Jews and non-Jews (Ukrainians, Poles, Russians) in the borderlands of the Habsburg and Romanov empires. This is interaction that may have been conscious or unconscious, and may have involved encounter, appropriation, negotiation, exchange and destruction.
The course intends to show the possibilities afforded by applying the gender (cultural sex) perspective in the study of Jewish culture. Proceeding from the analysis of the role of the woman and man in traditional Jewish society, we will present gender difference in the process of modernization among Jewish women and men. In looking at autobiographical materials, we will trace characteristic stages and stories, as well as life’s choices of Jewish maskilim (advocates of Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment). We will use the examples of the life and work of Pua Rakowska (known as "the Grandmother of Zionism") and Sara Szenirer (reformer of the traditional education system of Jewish girls) to analyze the problem...
When the well-known German author Alfred Döblin visited Lviv in 1924 he wrote: “Lviv is a lively, medium-sized, western, modern town; its streets are peaceful and bustling with life. But suddenly something strange confronts me. This city lies in the arms of two enemies, each of whom wants to dominate it. Subterranean enmity and violence are fermenting in the background”. Döblin, the son of assimilated German Jews from Stettin, also commented on the undercurrent of antiSemitism and voiced his fears, especially for the many poor Jews living in the city. (Alfred Döblin, ReisenachPolen).
Our main focus in this class will consist in Jewish experiences with cities in the twentieth century. Geographically, our center of attention will be Central and Eastern Europe (with our main – but not exclusive – emphasis on territories that, at one point or the other, came under Soviet rule); chronologically, we will concentrate (unevenly) on the period between the end of the First World War and the end of the Soviet Union. In particular, the Holocaust and the Second World War were events of central and terrible importance for this period and area. Accordingly, we will pay special attention to them.
Historians constitute a rather conservative breed, and of course some historians are more conservative than others. The comfort zone of a conservative historian is a document, that is a preserved text, especially one that has some kind of official provenance. Memoirs, testimonies, oral history — the conservative historian considers them at best to be second-rank sources, too subjective and uncertain. This kind of historian does not even recognize visual materials as sources and makes no use of them. But this is unfortunate, because we live at a time in which all sorts of information is presented ever more frequently by visual means. Our students have become accustomed to acquire information in a form...
Ukraine’s twentieth century was tragically marked by much politically motivated violence and authoritarian regimes as well as movements, from the radical left and the radical right. These forces and events did not only do great harm in the past but left memories and legacies that are still challenging to contemporary Ukraine. In this class, we will focus on several key issues of history, memory, and politics. The readings cannot be exhaustive. Instead, our aim is to read and discuss a sample of important short texts that allow us to reflect more broadly on the underlying questions.
This course was a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school (July 13 – August 7, 2015. Center for Urban History. Lviv, Ukraine).
This course is devoted to the analysis of representations of Ukrainian territory as a multicultural space during the "long" revolutionary period of 1917-30. We will examine different types of representations (scholarly papers, memoirs, plays, films, stories) and the features of the coexistence of ethnic communities in different parts of Ukraine and at different stages of the revolutionary period. Our overall aim will be to try to forget the familiar narrative of the "Ukrainian Revolution" and "national liberation struggle" and explore the diversity of historical materials and representations, which are not included in the narrative. By studying the events from nearly a century ago, we can better understand the events of 2014.
This course was a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school.
This course forms a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school. The syllabus is available only in Polish.
This course forms a part of Jewish History, Multiethnic Past, and Common Heritage: Urban Experience in Eastern Europe summer school.
The course will cover the major development of the East European Jewry from the mid-eighteenth century till the present. More specifically, it will focus on the apparently largest category of modern Jewish history, i.e. modernity itself. The course will start with the discussion of what modernity means in contemporary scholarly discourse, and—more specifically—how it is applied today in historiography of East European Jewry. This introduction will provide a frame for the focus of the course: the analysis of the changing life patters and differing strategies of adopting, rejecting, or negotiating modernity in every-day lives of East European Jews.