BA Group 2 option, taught by Johanna Conterio

In this one-term seminar, we will study Soviet attempts to transform Soviet individuals into builders of socialism. The ideal of “The New Soviet Person,” with new, collectivist values, who would strain to build a new world, was pursued through a variety of projects and policies by the Communist party and Soviet state. We will examine the ideological foundations of the New Soviet Person and the (often violent) population politics employed by the Soviet state to bring this ideal into being, focusing on education, hygiene and healthcare, nationalities policy, urbanization, industrialization, and the family.


  1. Soviet educational philosophy and experimental education in the Early Soviet period
  2. The Communist Youth League (Komsomol), the All-Union Pioneer Organization, and the role of youth in mass politics
  3. The abolition and rehabilitation of the family
  4. Mass literacy campaigns
  5. Social hygiene and healthcare
  6. Physical culture and sport
  7. Urbanization and industrialization
  8. The “Idiocy of Rural Life”
  9. Nationalities policy
  10. Conquering nature