LENIN AND THE SACRED Representing the Unrepresentable

Alexei Yurchak
Date Range
Mon October 31st 2022, 3:30 - 5:00pm
Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)

For Zoom, please contact pdios54@stanford.edu

Abstract: The Soviet system was organized around the figure of “Lenin” – a figure that embodied the foundational and unquestionable Truth of the communist project. This figure stood outside of the Soviet political, legal and aesthetic language. Hence representing Lenin in external signs (linguistic, visuals, material) was challenging. To be successful, representations of Lenin had to be linked to his physical body. My talk will focus on the visual depictions of Lenin. How were these visuals connected to Lenin's body? What does this connection tell us about the relation between the Sacred, the Material and the Sign in the Soviet and post-Soviet contexts?

Bio: Alexei Yurchak is a Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. His interests include political anthropology, anthropology of science and anthropology of the image in the Soviet and post-Soviet contexts. He is the author of, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. He is currently finishing a book on the scientific, political and aesthetic histories of Lenin’s body that has been maintained and displayed for a century in the Mausoleum in Moscow.