Creative Comrades: Censorship and Collaboration in Late Stalinist Music


ACLS Project Development Grants




“Creative Comrades” explores the unique form of collaborative creativity and control developed by Soviet composers during the Stalinist state’s postwar campaign against the intelligentsia. It argues that in the absence of clearly defined aesthetic standards and the presence of high-stakes consequences for transgression, Soviet composers developed a form of collective self-censorship that proved far more effective at controlling their creative production than the state could have achieved alone. Further, it demonstrates that new works were so profoundly shaped by the collaborative process of critique and revision that those who took part must be understood not merely as advisors and regulators, but as co-authors. The grant will support completion of the manuscript during the 2021-2022 year.