Red Autobiographies

Initiating the Bolshevik Self

Igal Halfin

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295991122) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: March 2011
  • Subject Listing: History, Slavic Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 224 pp., notes, appendix, 6 x 9 in.
  • Distributed for: Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies
  • Series: Donald W. Treadgold Studies on Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia
  • Contents

In Red Autobiographies, Igal Halfin reads admission records of the Soviet Communist Party cells in the 1920s for what they reveal about the politics of self-representation in Bolshevik political culture. He identifies ways of speaking about oneself as a central arena of the Soviet revolution's drive for discovering, changing, and perfecting the self. The study is based on sources-many of which are no longer as freely accessible as they were during the heyday of the Soviet "archival bonanza" - in provincial party archives in Leningrad, Smolensk, and Tomsk. Its principal merit is Halfin's masterful handling and interpretation of those sources. The study also serves as a popular "short course" on Halfin's seminal contributions to the historiographies of Russia, communism, and modern subjectivity.

Igal Halfin is professor of modern history at Tel Aviv University.
1. Party Admissions in Paranoid Times
2. Workers Toward the Light
3. Peasant Enrollment
4. The Intelligentsia
Appendix: The Case of Fiodor Fiodorovich Raskol'nikov: Bolshevick Authobiographies Across the 1917 Divide

". . . Halfin's first-rate readings of this material makes for very compelling reading." -Auri C. Berg, Canadian Slavonic Papers, March-June 2012

"Using as his main source autobiographies written by people who wanted to join the Bolshevik party during the initial postrevolutionary years, Halfin demonstrates how these Bosheviks-to-be learned to narrate their lives in the language of the new political regime." -Serguei Oushakine, The Russian Review, June 2012

". . . [Halfin] consistently provides analytically rich, theoretically challenging and inspiring works. To dismiss his penetrating and creative revisionism is to suffer from a more intellectually debilitating form of myopia." -Sean Guillory, The NEP Era: Soviet Russia 1921-1928, 2011