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Please join us for a talk by Alexei Yurchak, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Soviet sovereign project was organized around the figure of “Leninism”— the discursive and material construct that consisted of Lenin’s texts and quotes, images and sculptures, and Lenin’s physical body in the Mausoleum. As the center of Sovereignty, “Leninism” was constant and eternal; it was the only body of knowledge that could not be questioned or transcended within the Soviet political discourse. In fact, however, to remain “the same” Leninism was continuously changed and reinvented throughout the Soviet history. Leninist texts were censored and misquoted, Leninist images were re-edited and retouched, and Lenin’s physical body in the Mausoleum was continuously resculpted and restored with the help of biochemical and artistic techniques. This talk focuses on the sovereign center of the Soviet communist project through the prism of the scientific, artistic and discursive practices that have been mobilized to maintain and transform the Leninist body for the past 96 years.
Alexei Yurchak is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. His work focuses on political anthropology, anthropology of science, anthropology of art, and the former Soviet Union. He is the author of the award-winning book Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press, 2006 and NLO 2014). He is currently completing a book manuscript about Lenin's body and the Moscow laboratory that has maintained it since 1924.