Visualizing Russia’s Kaleidoscopic History

Geographically, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than ten million square miles and spanning 11 time zones. With its immense size and varied landscapes it’s a nation known not only by its unique beauty, but also for its storied history.

Joan Neuberger, professor of history, takes readers on a journey through Russian history–from the ancient Kiev period (860-1240) to contemporary post-soviet society (1991-present)–in “Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture” (Yale University Press, 2008).

The book, edited by Neuberger and Valerie Kivelson, professor of history at the University of Michigan, covers the entire sweep of Russian history. Through a tapestry of more than 100 visual resources, including icon paintings, popular prints, news and art photographs, folk art, films and advertisements, the book provides a comprehensive account of Russian people and their culture.

Filled with essays from a wide range of renowned scholars, the mixed-media book illuminates the complexities of how Russians visually represented themselves through various forms of images, such as paintings, portraits and wartime posters, and how they used these images to exert or overturn social and political power.

Neuberger is the author of “Hooliganism: Crime, Culture and Power in St. Petersburg, 1900-1914” and “Ivan the Terrible: The Film Companion.” She co-authored “Europe and the Making of Modernity, 1815-1914” and co-edited “Imitations of Life: Two Centuries of Melodrama in Russia.”

Learn more about the sights and sounds of Russia at the university’s annual Russia Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. , Feb. 21. The event, sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, offers “immersion experience” in Russia’s culture, language, traditions and history. Local area high schools, as well as schools from other Texas cities are invited to participate. All presentations are conducted by volunteer faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students.