The History Club of Hopkinsville Community College is sponsoring a public Zoom talk at noon Tuesday that will focus on Russian Orthodox icons and imagery in early Soviet posters. 

HCC hosting virtual meeting Tuesday with focus on religious icons in early Soviet messaging
An example of an early Soviet poster using Russian Orthodox images. (Image provided)

Professor Elizabeth Wood, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will lead the discussion. Wood is a professor of Russian and Soviet history, and her current research focuses on political performances of Russian President and gender policies in the Soviet state of the 1920s. 

HCC Assistant Professor John Davis, who is the History Club sponsor, is also noted for his research into Russian history. His is the author of “Russia in the Time of Cholera: Disease under Romanovs and Soviets.”

Tuesday’s Zoom meeting, open to the public, will look at the period when Bolsheviks seized power. An organizer for the event described:

“In posters from the early Soviet period (roughly 1917-1924), artists affiliated with the new regime chose to represent male workers, peasants and soldiers as holy warriors, drawing on Russian Orthodox iconography in their imagery. Archangels, Kremlins, military hordes, and red pentagrams all make their appearance in these new, ostensibly non-religious posters.

“At the same time images of women are almost exclusively focused on the domestic sphere with less distinct but still visible references to the Orthodox Mother of God, both as she holds the Christ child and also as she points to him as a sign of the future.”

Wood’s discussion will also consider, “How, we will ask, did Russian Orthodox images and values continue to infuse a society that was ostensibly rejecting religion and moving toward a secular form of socialism?”

Anyone wanting to attend the Zoom session should use this link. The meeting ID is 860 8793 4989. The password is b7EscV.

(Jennifer P. Brown is the editor and co-founder of Hoptown Chronicle. Reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org.)

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