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FB-57514-14

Jeffrey Kenneth Hass
University of Richmond (Richmond, VA 23173-0001)

A Siege Mentality: Practices and Politics of Surviving War in the Blockade of Leningrad

Using the Blockade of Leningrad (1941-44) as a topic of its own and as a case study, this project analyzes behavior under extreme wartime duress. Leningraders confronted multiple sources of suffering and survival challenges: starvation, mass death, a draconian state, and uncertainty of war. Civilian responses varied with gender, class/occupation, education, and the like, yet most frameworks cannot adequately explain why. Using a wide range of untapped archival data--wartime diaries, postwar recollections, and Party and state documents (investigations, propaganda, policy discussions), etc.--I show how Leningraders grappled with and responded to challenges to survival and to assumptions of normal Soviet life. Gender, social norms, etc. continued to matter because: 1) civilians mediated Blockade suffering by imbuing identities and practices with status, dignity, and meaning; 2) concrete objects, relations, and sites of significance were anchors for shared meanings, even if contested.

Project fields:
Area Studies; Russian History; Sociology

Program:
Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015