Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center News

Fisher Forum 2010: The Socialist 1960s

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center
5/12/2010  8:00 am


The Socialist 1960s: Popular Culture and the Socialist City in Global Perspective

2010 Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum

Fisher  Forum 2010

International Conference

June 24-26, 2010
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Levis Faculty Center, W. Illinois Street, Urbana

Program and Schedule
The Socialist 1960s: Popular Culture and the City in Global Perspective



7-8:30 Film showing: “Wings” (Dir. Larisa Shepitko, 1966) (101 Armory Building, 505 E. Armory Ave., Champaign)

8:30-9:30 Panel discussion (101 Armory)
Chair: Anne E. Gorsuch (History, University of British Columbia)
Lilya Kaganovsky (Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Comparative Literature, University of Illinois)
Eugénie Zvonkine (Cinema, University of Paris 8)


9-9:30 Welcome and introductions (Diane Koenker, History, University of Illinois)

9:30-11: Panel One: Socialist Spaces
Chair: Anne E. Gorsuch
Lewis H. Siegelbaum (History, Michigan State University), “Tol’iatti: A New Soviet of the Sixties”
Susan Reid (Art History, Sheffield University, UK), “Making Oneself at Home in the Soviet Sixties”
Joao Goncalves (Anthropology, University of Chicago), and Marial Iglesias (History and Philosophy, University of Havana, Cuba) “Bring in the Sputnik, Topple the Eagle: The Birth of Socialist Havana in the Early 1960s”
Discussant: Christine Varga-Harris (History, Illinois State University)

1-2:30: Panel Two: Youth Cultures
Padraic Kenney (History, Indiana University)

Anne Luke (History, Wolverhampton University, UK), “Listening to Los Beatles: Being Young in 1960s Cuba”
Rossen Djagalov (Comparative Literature, Yale University), “Guitar Poetry as the Genre of 1960s Democratic Socialism: A Global History”
Discussant: Donna Buchanan (Ethnomusicology, University of Illinois)
2:30-3 Break

3-5: Panel Three: Contact Zones
Chair: Lilya Kaganovsky
Shawn Salmon (History, University of California), “Building Out: The Soviet Hotel in the 1960s”
Polly Jones (Literature, University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies), “The 'Thaw' Goes International: Soviet Literature in Translation and Transit in the 1960s “
Nicholas Rutter (History, Yale University), “Missionary Tourism at the World Youth Festivals of the 1960s”
Discussant: Anne E. Gorsuch


9:30-11:30: Panel Four: Television
Chair: Roshanna Sylvester (History, DePaul University)
Heather Gumbert (History, Virginia Polytechnic University), "Towering Visions: Defining Television’s Place in 1960s East Berlin”
Christine Evans (History, University of California, Berkeley), “‘KVN is an Honest Game’: Negotiating the Rules of the Game on Soviet Game Shows in the 1960s”
Robert Edelman (History, University of California, San Diego), “From Soccer Tourism to Cosmopolitan Hooliganism: The Consequences of International Club Football inside the USSR, 1965-1975”
Discussant: James Brennan (History, University of Illinois)

1-3: Panel Five: Tourism
Chair: George Gasyna (Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois)
Christian Noack (History, National University of Ireland), “Unchained Melodies: The Soviet Tourist Song Movement between Bard Poetry and Soviet Mass Culture”
Rachel Applebaum (History, University of Chicago), “Detour on the Friendship Train: Soviet Tourism to Czechoslovak Cities and the Prague Spring, 1964–1969”
Discussant: Diane Koenker
3-3:30 Break

3:30-5:00: Closing Roundtable
The Socialist Sixties in Global Perspective: Questions and Research Agenda
Diane Koenker

Conference participants and invited discussants.


Rachel Applebaum, University of Chicago
James R. Brennan, University of Illinois
Donna Buchanan, University of Illinois
Rossen Djagalov, Yale University
Robert Edelman, University of California, San Diego
Christine Evans, University of California, Berkeley
George Gasyna, University of Illinois
Joao Felipe Goncalves, University of Chicago
Anne E. Gorsuch, University of British Columbia
Heather Gumbert, Virginia Tech
Polly Jones, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
Lilya Kaganovsky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Padraic Kenney, Indiana University
Diane P. Koenker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Anne Luke, Wolverhampton University
Christian Noack, National University of Ireland
Susan E. Reid, University of Sheffield
Nick Rutter, Yale University
Shawn Salmon, University of California, Berkeley
Lewis Siegelbaum, Michigan State University
Roshanna Sylvester, DePaul University
Christine Varga-Harris, Illinois State University
Eugenie Zvonkine, University Paris

Free and open to the public.

For more information on the conference, please contact:

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center
University of Illinois
217.333.1244 or


The Socialist 1960s: Popular Culture and the Socialist City in Global Perspective

The 1960s witnessed an explosion of cross-cultural fertilization in a time of world competition for the hegemony of two enduring “systems” – capitalism and socialism. As a moment when decolonization created immense possibilities for liberation movements throughout the world, the 1960s became the heyday of the “Second World” appeals to the newly decolonized societies of the “Third World,” as well as the reemergence of a European “First World” as a postwar consumer society in reaction to American hegemony. This was the moment when the “orderedness” of the three worlds was arguably the most prominent in popular discourse and culture, and a moment when that order was contested and destabilized. The patterns that first emerged in the 1960s – cultural contest, political mobility, urbanization and the rise of urban youth movements, women’s rights, the hegemony of popular over “high” culture driven by technology – form the bases of today’s discussions of globalization, its challenges, dangers, and contestation.

The purpose of this conference will be to use the Second World, the socialist societies of the 1960s, as the center from which to explore global interconnections and uncover new and perhaps surprising patterns of cultural cross-pollination. This forum will be structured around cities as the units of analysis, and it will focus on the arena of popular culture as played out in these city spaces. More specifically, we invite paper proposals that focus on one of three realms of urban popular culture – media (including cinema, television, popular music); material culture (including spaces and their uses as well as commodities), and leisure (including tourism and other activities). We consider these exemplary of the circulation of objects, images, sounds, and impressions on a level different from political programs, literature and “fine arts.” Several thematic threads will tie together this consideration of the circulation of popular culture around and through the Second world: mobility and cultural transmission; youth cultures and student movements; gender; consumerism and hedonism; the state and cultural exchange; technology and cultural dissemination; cosmopolitan political mobilization. Our aims will be to consider what the “1960s” meant in socialist countries, and to discuss the balance in the 1960s between cultural global integration and continuing political differentiation.The core of the forum will be the socialist societies of eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but the forum would be enriched by participation from scholars who study other socialist societies.

Contacts: Diane P. Koenker ( and Anne E. Gorsuch (

The Ralph and Ruth Fisher Forum is held in conjunction with the Summer Research Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. The conference is made possible by Mary and Hal Zirin's generous gift to the Ralph and Ruth Fisher Endowment Fund in honor of Professor Ralph Fisher and his wife Ruth. Ralph Fisher is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Illinois and founder of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center and the Summer Research Lab.