Black Skin in the Red Land: African American Experience in the USSR

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About this Event

Pushkin House

Mon, 12 October 2020

13:00 – 14:30 EDT

Why did the Soviet Union (during the traumatic time of famine and forced collectivization) represent a country of opportunity for America's oppressed? What did it mean to be African American in a place that did not, legally, see race? 

Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon will investigate how experience in the Soviet Union affected how these African Americans understood their identity as Black people.

Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is an incoming doctoral student in History at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a former secondary history teacher and community college instructor. She earned her M.A. in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia from Harvard University. Her research examines the intersections of Black experience, identity, ethnicity, race, and Soviet nationality policy in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet space. She is currently preparing an article that analyzes how visiting the Soviet Union affected African American understandings of Black identity in the 1920s and 30s. Her public writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Krytyka (Ukraine), and The Moscow Times.

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