Complicating Dichotomies of Grief and Blame: Examining the Heritage of Stalinist Repression

Author(s): Margaret A Comer

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Exploring the Recent Past" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

A key point of conflict and contest at sites related to Soviet repression is the matter of victimhood and perpetration. At each site, who is identified as a victim, perpetrator, or bystander, and why? Who decides on these classifications, and, within each site’s interpretation, is there any reflection of the very real contestation and ambivalence that attend the application of these categories? The post-Soviet Russian case offers an array of different approaches to this dilemma, and this paper will analyze Moscow sites related to Stalinist repression through the lens of variable degrees of ‘grievability’, which takes Judith Butler’s (2009) work as a point of departure, as well as different types of ‘blameability’ as these are expressed in each site’s interpretation and memorialization. The paper will also explore the potential of a cyclical model for thinking through and categorizing the heritage of authoritarian repression.

Cite this Record

Complicating Dichotomies of Grief and Blame: Examining the Heritage of Stalinist Repression. Margaret A Comer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449123)

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Temporal Keywords
Twentieth Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 382