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Being A Father Is Not a Sissy Business: The Cult of Soviet Fatherhood After Stalin

September 21, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This presentation examines a fundamental shift in how Soviet cinematographers reconfigured the notion and practice of fatherhood. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Soviet directors made active and emotive paternity central to what it means to be a Soviet man. This shift was significant because men’s identities were “domesticated” and their lives more firmly tied to the home rather than the public sphere. The “drama” of men’s lives—as depicted in post-Stalinist film—occurred around the family hearth rather than the blast furnace or the battlefield. While post-Stalinist films glorified fathers, they also inverted the generational dynamics since the fathers learned from their sons, rather than the other way around. In short, Soviet filmmakers presented their audiences with an ambitious cultural project in which men were required to be more nurturing, home-centered, and democratic in their dealings with their children. In the best of circumstances, this was a tall order.

To request a copy of the paper, please email

Marko Dumančić is Assistant Professor at Western Kentucky University. He works on a range of topics involving gender and sexual identity in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. His primary research examines changing conceptions of masculinity in post-Stalinist society of the 1950s and 1960. He is currently completing a monograph entitled The “New Men” of the Soviet Sixties: Masculinity in Film and Society after Stalin. His work has appeared in Journal of Cold War Studies, Cold War History, and Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema.


The Carolina Seminar: Russia and Its Emipres, East and West is co-sponsored by the Carolina Seminar Program, the UNC Department of History, and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Please note that the participants will give an overview of their projects, but will not read a formal paper. Instead, papers or book chapters will be circulated ahead of time to those who are interested in attending and participating in the discussion. 


September 21, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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