Death and Redemption examines the Gulag’s role defining the border between reintegration into society and permanent removal through death. Barnes focuses on Kazakhstan’s Karaganda region, a location that hosted a number of Soviet detention institutions, and suggests that the Gulag should be construed as a “corrective facility,” which gave its occupants a final chance to prove themselves through forced labor. Those who succeeded returned home after years of brutal, forced labor; the ones who “failed” died. Barnes traces the evolution of the Gulag from its origins post-1917, immediately following the Russian Revolution up to the death of Stalin in 1953. The author draws on recently declassified materials from Russia and Kazakhstan, including memoirs of survivors, to show that the Gulag as an institution remained closely linked to the Soviet idea of creating an utopian socialist society.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
5th floor conference room
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Joining Barnes will be Karel C. Berkhoff, who is Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and associate professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Steven A. Barnes is an associate professor of Russian history and director of the Center for Eurasian Studies at George Mason University. He is founder and co-blogger at the Russian History Blog and served as the project director and lead historian for the web exhibit Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives. Barnes has published widely on a number of topics dealing with Soviet cultural and social history. His articles have appeared in the Slavic Review, Kritika, and International Labor and Working Class History. Barnes’s latest research focuses on post-1968 Soviet history. This book project will examine the information flow in a highly authoritarian state, the popular response to conflicting information, and the relationship between the loss of ideological fervor and the daily life of Soviet citizens.
Karel C. Berkhoff is Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and associate professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule and has been working on a monograph detailing the Soviet home front propaganda from 1941 to 1945. His publications include articles on the portrayal of the Holocaust in Soviet media during WWII, the Babi Yar Massacre, and the Ukrainian nationalist sentiments towards Germans and Jews in the early 1940s. Berkhoff’s works have been featured in renowned scholarly journals, such as Kritika, Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, and Harvard Ukrainian Studies. In addition, Berkhoff has given a number of radio and TV interviews on a wide array of topics covering various aspects of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. His latest research focuses on the mass murders near Kiev, in particular Babi Yar – site of the largest single Nazi shooting of Jews in the entire Soviet Union. Berkhoff holds a Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Toronto and two Doctorandus degrees in Russian studies and history from the University of Amsterdam.
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