"Boundaries of History" Alan Barenberg - "’The Life [and Works] of Engineer Kipreev’: Demidov, Shalamov, and the Fate of Camp Literature and Networks after Stalin"
On June 7, 2018, Thursday, 6:30 pm Department of History and the Center for Historical Research at the HSE in St Petersburg invite you to a session of the “Boundaries of History” research seminar. Alan Barenberg (Texas Tech University) will present a talk based on a draft: "The Life [and Works] of Engineer Kipreev": Georgii Demidov and Varlam Shalamov Debate Representations of the Soviet Camp Experience, 1965-67"
Abstract: From 1965 to 1967, former Kolyma prisoners Georgii Demidov and Varlam Shalamov rekindled a friendship established in the late 1940s but interrupted by the whims of camp fate. Corresponding regularly and meeting occasionally, the two discussed how camp survivors should represent their experiences in literary form. At issue was a wide range of questions: what form should camp literature take? Who and what should be depicted? Who had the authority to write about the camps? Approaching their literary endeavors in profoundly different ways, Demidov and Shalamov were unable to find common ground, and soon terminated their resumed relationship.
This chapter will use this correspondence to examine a wide range of issues about former prisoners, social networks, and representing the legacy of the Gulag. In particular, it investigates prospects for Gulag literature at a key moment in its development: between the brief window from 1962-65 when camp literature (including One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) appeared in the official Soviet press, and the appearance of the Gulag Archipelago and other key works of the 1970s, published in samizdat and/or tamizdat, that established the Gulag literary canon. In so doing, it will problematize both the historiography of former prisoners in the Soviet Union after Stalin and conceptions of the development of the Gulag literary canon.
Associate Professor, Texas Tech University
Before coming to Texas Tech University, Dr. Barenberg received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (2007), an M.A. from the University of Chicago (2000), and a B.A. from Carleton College (1999). Alan Barenberg specializes in the history of the Soviet Union, with an emphasis on the social and economic history of the 1930s-1970s. His research focuses on a broad range of topics in the economic and social history of the Russian Empire and the USSR. His book, Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta (Yale UP, 2014), uses the case of the Arctic community of Vorkuta to resituate the Gulag in the history of the Stalin and post-Stalin eras. Gulag Town, Company Town has been recognized with various prizes, including the Canadian Association of Slavists' Taylor and Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (2015), the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from the Association for Slavic, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (Honorable Mention, 2015), and the TTU President’s Book Award (First Prize, 2016)