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The Celebrification of Soviet Culture: State Heroes after Stalin

Trimble, Theodora Kelly (2017) The Celebrification of Soviet Culture: State Heroes after Stalin. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Celebrity as an object of study is absent in narratives of Soviet cultural history. Contrary to the dominant interpretation of celebrity as a manifestation of market economic practices, this dissertation contends that the concept is not unique to first-world systems. Celebrities not only thrived in the second world but were supported and embraced as state resources because of their usefulness to the Soviet cultural administration. Their images attended to state needs while also fulfilling the public’s desire for national heroes that embodied the spirit of socialism. Soviet culture is full of accounts of prominent personalities from various cultural spheres who rose to fame and notoriety, but these personages are depicted as “artists” or “heroes,” rather than conceptualized as celebrity figures. This dissertation is an attempt to formulate a study that explores the formation of celebrity in the USSR during the years of the Thaw and early Stagnation, roughly 1953-73.
The methodology of this work positions the celebrity figure at the intersection of a number of cultural and technological platforms, primarily Soviet cinema and the state-controlled media system, and works through three principal lines of inquiry. This dissertation, first, explores the development of the celebrity network in the USSR as well as the way that Soviet fame had an international cultural presence. The project, second, examines the way that the celebrity is contextualized in the USSR in terms of his or her relationship to media and the cinema industry. The dissertation, third, situates its exploration of celebrity development between two other periods in Soviet history, Stalinism and Perestroika, while also looking ahead to the way that the development of the Thaw celebrity reappears in contemporary Russia. Finally, the project takes as its goal the exploration of the celebrity text in renegotiating understandings of Soviet cultural history. Although the development of the second-world celebrity was, at times, inspired by first-world models, this dissertation demonstrates that it was possible to establish an evolving and thriving celebrity apparatus in the Soviet Union.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Trimble, Theodora Kellytheodora.trimble@gmail.comtht4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPadunov,
Committee MemberBirnbaum,
Committee MemberCondee,
Committee MemberHalle,
Date: 1 July 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 March 2017
Approval Date: 1 July 2017
Submission Date: 12 April 2017
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 172
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soviet culture, Soviet cinema, Soviet celebrities, stardom, Khrushchev Thaw
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2017 01:03
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 05:15


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