Olga Shevchenko completed her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Her dissertation work and the first book, Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow (Indiana University Press, 2009), were dedicated to exploring the lived dimension of post-socialist change in Russia. This ethnographic research took her to the apartments, offices, shopping centers, and public places in Moscow, where she conversed with Muscovites about their understanding of the new ground rules of postsocialist life, tracing how people grappled with the simultaneous transformation of the economic, political and cultural landscape around them, and reformulated for themselves their notions of safety, morality and practical competence. The book received the Heldt Prize from AWSS (2009) and the Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies from ASEEES (2010). Shevchenko has also edited a volume on memory and photograph, Double Exposure (Transaction Publishers, 2014), and published a number of articles on post-Soviet political culture, nostalgia, consumption and family photographic archives have appeared in such journals as Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Consumer Culture, Slavic Review and Social Psychology Quarterly, as well as a number of edited volumes and collections.
As a NOMIS fellow at eikones, Shevchenko will be working jointly with Oksana Sarkisova to complete the manuscript on the afterlives of Soviet-era domestic photo archives, provisionally entitled Snapshot Histories. Within this broad umbrella of the project, she will be reworking several of the earlier-drafted chapters, and completing the final chapter of the manuscript, which is dedicated to one particularly dramatic manifestation of the importance of family photographs for historical and political imagination — the massively popular and visually stunning initiative called the Immortal Regiment. While merely in its eighth year, this initiative mobilizes millions of people to take to the streets of Russian cities and towns once a year on Victory day, carrying enlarged photographs of their ancestors. This chapter will tell the story of Soviet-era family photographs in Russia today as moving objects in multiple senses of the word. It will trace the transformations images undergo on the intersection of intimate family histories and ideological projects of national resurgence and ask, How do photographs move people into action.