The Odyssey of Communism. Visual Narratives, Memory and Culture
Goal: With obvious propagandistic aims, the feature films and documentaries produced in the Eastern Bloc would ‘rewrite’ the history in the making, providing their home audiences with the image of a system that should have been perceived as victorious against the evils of the corrupt, capitalist West, and as a blessing for the ones fortunate enough to be under the protection of the Party.
Equally worth commenting on are the few cultural products of the age that escaped censorship in their attempt to fight the regime, either by subtle insertion of subversive elements in the communist visual propaganda or by ‘emigration’ to a free world that was more than willing to find out what was going on behind the Iron Curtain.
Following the 1989 revolutions, the fall of the Berlin Wall and, lastly, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, cultural memory has been set in motion to ‘show and tell’ how communism really was, in visual artefacts which have painted ‘the age of horrors’, 1945-1989, as even darker than it had actually been. With freedom of expression newly guaranteed, art creators have, since then, struggled to re-textualize the imposed narratives of the recent past, thus re-producing a history of communism.
Without any claims to historical truth(s), we hereby invite individual contributions to an academic debate within the framework of a book that will hopefully shed some light on the way in which communism was culturally represented before and after 1989 in the former communist states and in the West.
Book deal signed with UK publisher Cambridge Scholars Publishing (Newcastle-upon-Tyne). The collective volume will be edited by Professor Michaela Praisler and Dr Oana Celia Gheorghiu.It consists of four parts: Nostos (on nostalgia), Hades (on the horrors of communism), The Lotus-Eaters (on complacency and manipulation), Ithaca (on the aftermaths of the communist 'journey'). We accept submissions that fall under any of the four categories above. Get in touch for details. (firstname.lastname@example.org)