Fall 2017

1917-2017:  One Hundred Years in the Story of Labor

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-251  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-356  |  Russian, as RUSS-251


Michael M. Kunichika (Section 01)


(Offered as RUSS 251, EUST 251, and FAMS 356)  In this course, we consider the century that lay between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the present day by focusing on labor. We reconstruct how labor and work have been represented in primarily Russian and Soviet literature and film, while drawing comparisons from American and European cultural sources. We will consider the Revolution as a historical phenomenon, examining central texts in which its ambitions and significance were contested. We then consider chapters in the on-going career of labor from the 1920s to the present-day. We examine the seminal statements of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky; the groundbreaking films of Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein; and the enduring literary works of Andrei Platonov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among others. Alongside the Russian texts, we will read or screen works by John Steinbeck, Charlie Chaplin, Fritz Lang, and Eugene O’Neil. Throughout, we will be guided by several questions and concerns: how does an artistic work represent labor and conceive its value? What is the nature of work? How is intellectual labor understood in relation to others forms of labor? How are bodies configured by different labor processes? And, lastly, what might this history tell us about the present state and challenge of labor and social inequity at the centennial of the Revolution? All readings in English.

Fall semester. Professor Kunichika.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017

The Hairy Ape, Performed at the Kamerny Theater, Moscow 1926. Dana Collection. Harvard

Submitted by Michael M. Kunichika on Thursday, 3/16/2017, at 11:14 PM


The Hairy Ape, Performed in Moscow, 1926