This book provides a new perspective through a closer look on “Other”, i.e. ethnic minority women defined by the Soviet documents as natsionalka. Applying decolonial theory and critical race and whiteness studies, the book analyzes archive documents, early Soviet films and mass publications in order to explore how the “emancipation” and “culturalization” of women of “culturally backward nations” was practiced and presented for the mass Soviet audience. Whilst the special focus of the book lies in the region between the Volga and the Urals (and Muslim women of the Central Eurasia), the Soviet emancipation practices are presented in the broader context of gendered politics of modernization in the beginning of the 20th century. The analysis of the Soviet documents of the 1920s-1930s not only subverts the Soviet story on “generous help” with emancipation of natsionalka through uncovering its imperial/colonial aspects, but also makes an important contribution to the studies of imperial domination and colonial politics. This book is addressed to all interested in Russian and Eurasian studies and in decolonial approach to gender history.
Soviet Emancipation and Modernization: The “Secondhand Time” -- Imperial politics and the women’s question in the beginning of the 20th century (the Volga-Ural region, Muslim women and beyond) -- Revolutions of 1917 and the Bolshevik Reforms of the status of woman -- Informing change: “Total Hopelessness” of the Past and the “Bright Future” of the “Woman of the East” in Soviet Pamphlets -- Everyday Work for Emancipation of Natsionalka :The VTsIK Commission -- Managing the Change -- Documenting” and Visualizing Change in Soviet Silent Films -- Bolshevik emancipation of natsionalka between “East” and “West” -- Soviet Politics of Emancipation in Post-Soviet Present