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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Masculinities in the motherland: Gender and authority in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, 1945–1968
by Fraser, Erica L., Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009, 218; 3395568
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation starts from the premise that World War II changed Soviet ideas about manhood. The Soviet Union lost twenty-seven million combatants and civilians in World War II – twenty million of whom were men. Delineating, performing, negotiating, and resisting a variety of cultural ideas about manliness shaped Soviet militarism and ideology during the Cold War. This dissertation re-evaluates the traditional and interrelated Cold War institutions of the military, scientific research, and the space program in cultural and gender terms in order to situate Cold War bravado in discourses about the recovery and renegotiation of masculine authority after the war. Applying historical and sociological masculinities theory to Cold War geopolitical institutions, I argue that Soviet culture saw a postwar divergence from the ideal of the "New Soviet Man" popularized in both general European socialist iconography and the specific era of the Bolshevik revolution. The particular conditions of the postwar era – beginning with the international rivalries of the Cold War – led to the unofficial recognition of multiple masculinities and, by extension, a plurality of subjectivities within the socialist collective. By examining the homosocial culture of officer training academies in the late 1940s, conscription and evasion in non-Russian republics in the 1940s and 1950s, the civilian "virility" of scientific research institutions in the 1950s, and the global celebrity performed by the first cosmonauts in the early 1960s, this dissertation reframes the Soviet Cold War as a geopolitical conflict rooted in cultural anxieties about manhood in the wake of World War II.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Koenker, Diane P.
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: History, European history, Russian history, Gender studies
Keywords: Authority, Cold War, Gender, Masculinity, Soviet Union, World War II
Publication Number: 3395568
ISBN: 978-1-109-58376-2
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