Soviet Space Culture: Cosmic Enthusiasm in Socialist Societies

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9780230274358: Soviet Space Culture: Cosmic Enthusiasm in Socialist Societies
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During the late 50s and early 60s, the Soviet Union boasted an impressive succession of 'space firsts': the first satellite, the first dog, the first man, and the first woman in space were all sent there by the leading socialist country. The influence of the Sputnik and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin went far beyond political leaders and military circles and was more than merely a link in the chain of technological advancement. This book analyzes Soviet space exploration as a cultural phenomenon, investigating the 'cosmic age', as mirrored in ideology, imagination and everyday life. It examines the communist, utopian and atheist aspects of the Soviet space fever in detail and locates the Soviet fascination for space in the context of Russian social and cultural history. Further topics are the making of male and female space heroes, the performing of space in world politics, space in socialist visual and pop cultures, the impact of space travel on children's dreams, and, finally, the end of utopia and beginning of nostalgia.

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Book Description:

Explores the profound affect of the Soviet space exploration program on culture and daily life in Eastern Europe, investigating its utopian roots and appearance in everything from pop songs to murals

About the Author:


EVA MAURER studied History and Russian Literature in Zürich and Münster, Germany and holds a special interest in the cultural and social history of Russia and the Soviet Union. Her PhD study 'Wege zum Pik Stalin' deals with the agency of Soviet mountaineers and their contribution to the mental maps of Stalinism.
 
JULIA RICHERS is Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and finished her PhD in 2005. Her interest in spatial theories lead her to the topics, 'Cosmic Enthusiasm in the Soviet Union' and 'the Soviet Union between Cults of Technology and Utopian Thinking'.
 
MONICA RÜTHERS is Professor of East European History at Hamburg University, Germany. Her research interests include Russian and Soviet Visual History, Jews and Gypsies as European liminar groups, Iconography of Soviet Childhood and Soviet Type Consumer Societies. 
 
CARMEN SCHEIDE  is specialized in East European history and culture. She received her PhD in 1999 from Basel University for a study on Soviet women in the 1920s and wrote her habilitation about the remembrance of World War II in the Soviet Union.

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