Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat

“Samizdat” is the Russian term invented in the 1950s to describe the self-published uncensored texts distributed through unofficial networks in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. These works of literature, poetry, musical commentary, history, political criticism, and resistance by national minorities became the currency of dissidence in the Cold War Soviet Union. In 2011 Ann Komaromi at the University of Toronto launched the Database and Electronic Archive of Soviet Samizdat Periodicals to “prompt former dissidents to share information and materials” and to inspire further research on samizdat publications and dissidence in the Soviet Union. This online database and archive is a model for the potential of digital history to change teaching and scholarship. Komaromi and the University of Toronto Libraries cooperated with several other institutions and libraries, including the famed Moscow Memorial Society, to make hundreds of samizdat available fully digitized and cataloged in an easily searchable database, along with an extensive bibliography and helpful introduction to the samizdat genre. In 2015, thanks to several grants and new partners, Komaromi and the University of Toronto Libraries launched the Project for the Study of Dissidence and Samizdat. The new phase of the project brought in more scholars and more samizdat to create a new digital archive, illustrated timelines, and interviews with activists, authors and editors of samizdat journals.

Websites: http://samizdatcollections.library.utoronto.ca/ (project website)

http://samizdat.library.utoronto.ca/ (Soviet Samizdat database)

Cover of Roksi (Roxy), a samizdat journal published in Leningrad between 1977 and 1990.
Cover of Roksi (Roxy), a samizdat journal published in Leningrad between 1977 and 1990.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s