Book Talk. Soviet Americana: The Cultural History of Russian and Ukrainian Americanists by Sergei Zhuk

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St)

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University for a presentation by Sergei ZhukProfessor of Russian and Eastern European History at Ball State University, of his book Soviet Americana: The Cultural History of Russian and Ukrainian Americanists (I.B. Tauris, 2018).

In 1991, there were more than 1,000 "Americanists"—experts in U.S. history and politicsworking in the Soviet Union. The Americanist community played a vital role in the Cold War, as well as in large part directing the cultural consumption of Soviet society and shaping perceptions of the U.S. To shed light onto this important, yet under-studied, academic community, Sergei Zhuk explores the personal histories of prominent Soviet Americanists, considering the myriad cultural influencesfrom John Wayne's bravado in the film Stagecoach to Miles Davisthat shaped their identities, careers, and academic interests.

Zhuk's compelling account draws on a wide range of understudied archival documents, periodicals, letters, and diaries as well as more than 100 exclusive interviews with prominent Americanists to take the reader from the post-war origins of American studies, via the extremes of the Cold War, thaw and perestroika, to Putin's Russia. Soviet Americana is a comprehensive insight into shifting attitudes towards the U.S. throughout the 20th Century and an essential resource for all Soviet and Cold War historians.

Sergei Zhuk is a professor of Russian and eastern European history at Ball State University and was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University in 2016. He received his first Ph.D. (U.S. history) from the Institute of World History in Moscow and his second (Russian history) from Johns Hopkins University. Zhuk is the author of the acclaimed Rock and Roll in the Rocket City (2010), Popular Culture, Identity and Soviet Youth in Dniepropetrovsk, 1959–1984 (2008), and Russia’s Lost Reformation (2004), as well as numerous books in Russian.