Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
Claire McCallum: The Good, the Bad, and the Incompetent: Representing the Father in Soviet Visual Culture after Stalin
Drawing on the range of satirical and humorous cartoons published in popular magazines of the day, this paper will examine how the Soviet father was represented in the years following the death of Stalin.The Khrushchev era is one that has come to be defined by fatherlessness, but print culture seems to offer us a very different picture, as images of men interacting with their children proliferated, appearing in across all visual genres with a frequency that was unprecedented. However, what we see in cartoons that is missing from other forms of visual culture is a degree of willingness to acknowledge the tensions, conflicts and problems that the Soviet family faced during this period – problems that had up until this point been almost entirely expunged from Socialist Realist art. Thus, as trivial as these cartoons may seem, this paper will argue that, not only are they evidence of how Socialist Realism moved closer to representing Socialist reality in the years after 1953, they are part of nothing less than a visual revolution in how the father and his relationship with his children were represented after the death of the self-styled ultimate father, Father Stalin.
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