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Writing a History of Soviet Architecture: From a History of Profession to a History of Materiality

Academic & Research
Friday, May 12, 2017, 5:30 pm

One of the obvious yet truly puzzling discoveries one quickly makes from reading books on Soviet architectural history is that apart from a few famous exceptions these were the same architects in the course of different epochs producing different architecture attributed to distinct aesthetic paradigms. This banal discovery prompted me to approach writing a history of Soviet architecture as a history of profession and a history of many important continuities. Having focused primarily on architects in my PhD thesis “Inventing Socialist Modern: A History of the Architectural Profession in the USSR (1932-1971)” I realized with time that I undermined the role of architectural objects the architects produced and the power of these objects to exert ruptures in space and time. This talk will discuss the recent historiographical developments in writing of Soviet architectural history and will propose a novel approach seeking to reconcile the focus on people and the focus on things.

About the lecturer:

Daria Bocharnikova, Ph.D. Her research interests lie at the intersection of the history of modern architecture and urban planning and history of State Socialism. As a PhD researcher, she studied the history of the architectural profession in the Soviet Union from the early 1930s to the late 1960s. Her second undertaking is the international collaborative project, titled Second World Urbanity launched in 2012 together with Steven E. Harris. The project explores the history of urban planning, architecture, and everyday life in socialist cities across Eurasia and beyond. Currently she is based in Brussels where she works for BOZAR (Center for Fine Arts) and KU Leuven as a research fellow.

All students, faculty and staff members are welcome to attend!

Organized by:

Ksenia Litvinenko, Sofia Lopatina, Yan Mazitov (SPSS Research Group)

Contact information: