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Popular Culture under Socialism: Continuities and Nostalgic Revisiting

The class draws attention to the mass culture before 1989 with its major figures and emblematic performances in music, dance, art and sports. Many of these are still remembered as holding high symbolic and aesthetic value for the generations before 1989, yet some of the figures continue to be productive after the end of the regime. Taking this as a launching point, the discussion in the class aims to focus on the “communist” component in the artistic and cultural practices in the period and on its conceptualization as heritage beyond the end of the regime.

Texts for discussion:

  • Buchanan, D., Sonic Nostalgia: Music, Memory, and Mythology in Bulgaria, 1990-2005. In: Todorova, M. and Zs. Gille, eds., Post-Communist Nostalgia-Berghahn Books, 2010, 129-154.
  • Jovanovic, Z., “This Is a Country for You”: Yugonostalgia and Antinationalism in the Rock-Music Culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In: Raudvere, C., еd., Nostalgia, Loss and Creativity in South-East Europe. Political and Cultural Representations of the Past. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 125-150.

Additional readings:

  • Cooke, P., Re-exoticizing the Normal: The Ostalgie Industry and German Television. In: Cooke, P., Representing East Germany since Unification from Colonization to Nostalgia. Oxford, New York: Berg, 2005, 141-176.
  • Еленков, И., Културният фронт. Българската култура през епохата на комунизма – политическо управление, идеологически основания, институционални режими. София, 2008. [Elenkov, I., The Culture Front. The Bulgarian Culture in the Epoch of Communism – Political Management, Ideological Grounds, Institutional Regimes. Sofia, 2008].