Transnationalism in One Country? Seeing Migration in Soviet History
Transnational studies arose amidst the neoliberal euphoria that greeted the demise of the Soviet bloc. In this presentation Professor Siegelbaum seeks to apply the categories of transnationalism and transnational migrants to migration within the Soviet Union. The first part summarizes scholarship on transnationalism, particularly with respect to migration, and asks why the concept has not been applied retrospectively to the Soviet Union. The second provides an overview of four kinds of transnational migrants in the Soviet period. For each, it posits the maintenance of ties with national homelands, or what can be called transnationalism in one country. The last part lays out four ways that seeing migration in transnational terms enhances our appreciation of the Soviet Union’s distinctiveness.
Lewis H. Siegelbaum is Jack and Margaret Sweet Professor Emeritus of History at Michigan State University where he taught from 1983 until 2018. He is the author of books on industrial mobilization during World War I (1984), the Stakhanovite movement of the 1930s (1988), Soviet state and society in the 1920s (1994), and the award-winning Cars for Comrades (2008). He is co-author with Leslie Page Moch of Broad is My Native Land: Repertoires and Regimes of Migration in Russia’s Twentieth Century (2014). He has edited two books and co-edited six others, most recently Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands (2019) with Krista Goff. He also co-authored with James von Geldern the award-winning online sourcebook “Seventeen Moments in Soviet History.”
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