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Donovan, Victoria

Chronicles in Stone

Preservation, Patriotism, and Identity in Northwest Russia

Series:NIU Series in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies


    165,95 € / $189.95 / £150.00*

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    Publication Date:
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    To be published:
    November 2019
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    Aims and Scope

    Chronicles in Stone is a study of the powerful and pervasive myth of the Russian Northwest, its role in forming Soviet and Russian identities, and its impact on local communities. Combining detailed archival research, participant observation and oral history work, it explores the transformation of three northwestern Russian towns from provincial backwaters into the symbolic homelands of the Soviet and Russian nations.

    The book's central argument is that the Soviet state exploited the cultural heritage of the Northwest to craft patriotic narratives of the people's genius, heroism and strength that could bind the nation together after 1945. Through sustained engagement with local voices, it reveals the ways these narratives were internalized, revised, and resisted by the communities living in the region.

    Donovan provides an alternative lens through which to view the rise of Russian patriotic consciousness in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, adding a valuable regional dimension to our knowledge of Russian nation building and identity politics.


    246 pages
    13 b&w halftones, 2 maps 2 Fig.
    anthropology, heritage studies, oral history, nationalism, Orthodox Christianity

    More ...

    Victoria Donovan is a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. She is the author of research articles in Antropologicheskii forum, Slavic Review, Slavonica and Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. She is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and the recipient of a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.


    Edith W. Clowes, University of Virginia, author of Area Studies in the Global Age:

    "What makes this study so valuable is that it combines a number of methodologies in fruitful ways—ethnography, oral history, architectural history, and cultural studies/ cultural anthropology. With these tools Victoria Donovan has managed to answer difficult questions, particularly about the Soviet roots of Russia's current wave of ultranationalism."

    Karl D. Qualls, author of From Ruins to Reconstruction:

    "This study is highly original, timely, and important. The Putin Administration has used history selectively to create new national narratives and forge patriotic unity. Donovan shows that this has been a process with a history of its own."

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