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Cambridge Russian Sensory History Network

Cambridge Russian Sensory History Network


We are a network of UK and European scholars working at the interface between the history of science and history of culture in Russia and Eastern Europe, with specific focus on the 20th century.

CRUSH aims to develop research into early 20th-century revolutionary projects for creating a new model of human subjectivity – both emotional and sensory. Our research is informed by the ‘sensory history’ movement that has become a rich area of scholarship in other fields, but that not yet developed fully in studies of Russia and Eastern Europe. We aim to create a sensory history of Soviet Russia, and believe that this ‘sensory history’ is a crucial counterpart to the recent, and very productive, ‘emotional turn’ in scholarship on Russian and Slavic history and culture. Recent work has sought to consider human emotion as a core object of interrogation, operating at what Mark Steinberg and Valeria Sobol call ‘the knotty intersections of body, self, society, culture and power.’ It is notable, however, that the ‘emotional turn’ in Slavic studies has not been accompanied by a parallel ‘sensory turn.’ CRUSH seeks to redress this balance.   

We are interested in exploring the dialogue between science and culture that underlay discourses about the physical and mental ‘remaking’ of the human subject and shifting conceptions of the ‘new Soviet body’. 

Whilst rooted in the Soviet experiment, CRUSH aims to extend scholarly enquiry into the  ‘sensory history’ of a broader range of political and social revolutions.