American Studies
American Studies

New Book From Dr. Julia Mickenberg

Tue, May 2, 2017
New Book From Dr. Julia Mickenberg

The Department of American Studies would like to congratulate associate professor Dr. Julia Mickenberg on the publication of her new book, called American Girls In Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream, recently named the Times of Higher Education's book of the week. Dr. Mickenberg has published an op-ed about her experience writing American Girls in Red Russia to Not Even Past, the blog of the history department at the University of Texas at Austin, has been featured in Life and Letters, the magazine of UT's College of Liberal Arts, and has had excerpts of the book published at Lapham's Quarterly and Timeline. In the book, released by the University of Chicago Press, Dr. Mickenberg...

...uncovers a forgotten counterpoint to the story of the Lost Generation: beginning in the late nineteenth century, Russian revolutionary ideology attracted many women, including suffragists, reformers, educators, journalists, and artists, as well as curious travelers. Some were famous, like Isadora Duncan or Lillian Hellman; some were committed radicals, though more were just intrigued by the “Soviet experiment.” But all came to Russia in search of social arrangements that would be more equitable, just, and satisfying. And most in the end were disillusioned, some by the mundane realities, others by horrifying truths.

Mickenberg reveals the complex motives that drew American women to Russia as they sought models for a revolutionary new era in which women would be not merely independent of men, but also equal builders of a new society. Soviet women, after all, earned the right to vote in 1917, and they also had abortion rights, property rights, the right to divorce, maternity benefits, and state-supported childcare. Even women from Soviet national minorities—many recently unveiled—became public figures, as African American and Jewish women noted. Yet as Mickenberg’s collective biography shows, Russia turned out to be as much a grim commune as a utopia of freedom, replete with economic, social, and sexual inequities.

American Girls in Red Russia recounts the experiences of women who saved starving children from the Russian famine, worked on rural communes in Siberia, wrote for Moscow or New York newspapers, or performed on Soviet stages. Mickenberg finally tells these forgotten stories, full of hope and grave disappointments.

We hope you will join us in celebrating Dr. Mickenberg's accomplishment at the book release party Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM at  BookWoman, 5501 N. Lamar, featuring a reading from Dr. Mickenberg and refreshemnts provided by Russian House. 

 

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