A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland

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Harvard University Press, Sep 6, 2005 - History - 308 pages
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This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this “no place” emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Kate Brown’s study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth-century “progress.”
 

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"By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland" - what a nonsense?!!!! These baseless statements demonstrate lack of profound knowledge and misguide a reader.

Contents

Introduction
1
Inventory
18
Ghosts in the Bathhouse
52
Moving Pictures
84
The Power to Name
118
A Diary of Deportation
134
The Great Purges and the Rights of Man
153
Deportee into Colonizer
173
Racial Hierarchies
192
Shifting Borders Shifting Identities
226
Notes
241
Archival Sources
297
Acknowledgments
299
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Kate Brown is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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