Soviet Visual Propaganda

This course will introduce students to a broad range of Soviet visual propaganda. We will survey the development of Soviet propaganda art at distinct moments in Soviet history – from the October Revolution to “the Great Break” that initiated Stalinism to the Great Patriotic War and then the ensuing Cold War. We will consider a range of distinctive types of Soviet propaganda: the political poster, monumental sculptures, agitational trains and boats, exhibition displays, street kiosks, illustrated magazines, photobooks, public murals, and wartime aerial leaflet propaganda. We will also investigate a number of distinctive forms of visual propaganda: political caricature, photomontage, and visual statistics. By examining related primary source documents, we will consider how the visual was mobilised to promote the policies and ideologies of the Soviet state.

Erika Wolf:

Erika Wolf came to SAS from the University of Otago (New Zealand), where she taught from 2003 to 2018. A native New Yorker, she completed a bachelor's degree at Princeton University and then trained in curatorial studies at the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. Erika then completed a doctorate in the History of Art and a master's degree in Russian & Eastern European Studies at the University of Michigan. Recognized internationally as an expert on Soviet photography and Russian visual culture, she has contributed to exhibition projects at the Reina Sofia Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Erika has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the International Research Exchange Board, the Center for Advanced Studies of the Visual Arts, the Kennan Institute, and the Harriman Institute. She is an Honorary Research Associate of the Munich Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Germany).