Snapshot Histories: The Afterlife of Socialism in Russian Family Photographs


ACLS Fellowship Program


Anthropology and Sociology


This project explores the popular memories of the Soviet era that are conjured up in the medium that to many Russians represents the most intimate source of information about the past: family stories and photographic collections. It draws on a combination of in-depth interviews with a cross-section of Russians, ethnographic fieldwork, and analysis of the images themselves (all collected between 2005 and 2008) to produce an account of how photographic images and family narratives interact to enable, support, or suppress particular perceptions of the Soviet era. To date, this is the first effort to use the tools of sociological analysis and theory to explore the relationship between popular photography and large-scale historical imagination.