When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Arguing that video was part and parcel of the postsocialist condition marked by liberalization and disintegration of the so-called ‘Second World,’ this dissertation explores the history of analog video technologies, distribution, and consumption in the (ex-)Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s. (Post-)Soviet video, as this study emphasizes, represented a particular glocal formation that was a frontier of the Cold War economies and cultures since the 1960s, as well as their dismantling during the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. First, while I trace Soviet video engineering projects, tele-video practices, and early consumer-grade video cultures, I outline the visions, both utopian and dystopian, that informed the meanings and usage of and policies around video as a technology. In particular, I foreground how video in the Soviet context emerges as a medium facilitating socialist and internationalist connectivity and offering a window into the world. Second, with an emphasis on how video reshaped the encounters between the (post-)Soviet and global realities, the study examines cross-border networks of video circulation and the rise of local video distribution infrastructure, including exhibition spaces, media bazaars, and television programming. Finally, this research brings translation as a cultural negotiation and actual language transfer to the fore, examining the crucial sites of (post-)Soviet video—children’s media and action cinema. With translation as a tool and object of the analyzis, I interrogate the shifting geocultural dynamics of screen flows and politics of attributing cultural and aesthetic worth under (post-)socialism, as refracted through these media forms, video, and the reconfigured Cold War East-West divisions.