American Studies
American Studies

Book Release Party For Dr. Julia Mickenberg's American Girls in Red Russia

Tue, May 16, 2017 | Bookwman, 5501 N. Lamar Blvd

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Book Release Party For Dr. Julia Mickenberg's American Girls in Red Russia

We hope you will join us on at 6:00 PM on May 16th in Austin very own Bookwoman to celebrate Dr. Julia Mickenberg's new book, American Girls In Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream, published the by The University of Chicago Press. 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, and has had excerpts of the book published at Lapham's Quarterly and Timeline. According to the publisher, the book:

...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.

 

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