Soviet and Post-Soviet Histories of Race

Nov. 30, 2020, 1:30-3:00pm

Join NYU's Jordan Center for an online panel discussion about race during and after the Soviet period.

Though “race” was never a category the Soviet authorities used much, their nationalities policy in the 1920s and support for interwar anti-colonial movements made the USSR probably the one country in the world that made anti-racism not only a domestic but an international priority and invested in it accordingly. Late Stalinism, with the collective punishment of whole peoples (and their accompanying racialization), with its antisemitic campaign, and open acknowledgement of Russians as “the first people” of the Union blunted this initial emancipatory thrust. In the treatment of race, the post-Stalin era contained policy elements from both of these earlier periods. And yet, for all of its contradictions, this period seems like a lost utopia compared to the post-Soviet one, which saw the normalization of racist violence and a previously censorable xenophobic language. Covering the last 80 years of Soviet and then post-Soviet Russian history, the three presentations of this panel will take us through this complex trajectory.

See the event page for Zoom details.


Harold Weaver, founding chair, department of Africana studies, Rutgers University (retired)

Zukhra Kasimova, PhD candidate, history department, University of Illinois at Chicago

Claudia Sadowski-Smith, professor of English and American studies, Arizona State University

Rossen Djagalov (moderator), professor of Russian and Slavic studies, NYU

Maxim Matusevich (moderator), professor and director, Seton Hall University Russian and East European studies program