The Americanist community played a vital role in the Cold War, as well as in large part directing the cultural consumption of Soviet society and shaping perceptions of the US. To shed light onto this important, yet under-studied, academic community, Sergei Zhuk here explores the personal histories of prominent Soviet Americanists, considering the myriad cultural influences - from John Wayne's bravado in the film Stagecoach to Miles Davis - that shaped their identities, careers and academic interests. Zhuk's compelling account draws on a wide range of understudied archival documents, periodicals, letters and diaries as well as more than 100 exclusive interviews with prominent Americanists to take the reader from the post-war origins of American studies, via the extremes of the Cold War, thaw and perestroika, to Putin's Russia. Soviet Americana is a comprehensive insight into shifting attitudes towards the US throughout the twentieth century and an essential resource for all Soviet and Cold War historians.
Sergei Zhuk is a professor of Russian and eastern European history at Ball State University and has just finished a visiting professorship at Columbia University. He received his first PhD (in US history) from the Institute of World History in Moscow and his second (in Russian history) from Johns Hopkins University. Zhuk is the author of the acclaimed Rock and Roll in the Rocket City (2010), Popular Culture, Identity and Soviet Youth in Dniepropetrovsk, 1959-1984 (2008) and Russia's Lost Reformation (2004), as well as numerous books in Russian.
IntroductionChapter 1: World War II and Inventing America on the Borders of Socialist Imagination: the Origins of American Studies in the USSRChapter 2: Discovering America by Studying Russian-US RelationsChapter 3: Academic Exchanges and Soviet Americanists during the Cold WarChapter 4: Soviet Americanists and the Impact of American Cinema and Television on the Soviet UnionChapter 5: Playing American Indians and Soviet IndianistikaChapter 6: Carving Academic and National Identity of Ukrainian AmericanistsEpilogue: Perestroika and the Crisis of Soviet Amerikanistika