This chapter explores writings on Stalin’s life, time and personality. It shows how biographies of the dictator often served as vehicles for social and cultural, political and economic histories of Stalinism. It traces the development of a canon of works on Stalin, mutual influences between scholars and their works, and processes of learning and forgetting between the 1930s and the 2010s.
This chapter questions a standard narrative about the development of the scholarship on Stalinism: the narrative of a succession of generations, beginning with the totalitarian ‘fathers’ (and mothers) moving on to the revisionist sons and daughters, to find an historical endpoint in the post-revisionist ‘grandchildren.’ Instead, the chapter shows how different authors of these different approaches to the study of Stalinism both learned from each other and forgot or misrecognized this process of learning by declaring themselves new and superior to the previous generation of scholars.
This chapter recounts the life, times, works and influence of Sheila Fitzpatrick, a major historian of Stalinism. It describes her formation as a scholar in a unique Australian milieu, her secondary socialization in 1960s Moscow, and her career in the UK, the United States and Australia. One of the great innovators in her field, Fitzpatrick not only made a major contribution to the professionalization of Soviet history, she also trained one of the largest cohorts of younger historians of Stalinism.
This chapter recounts a heated debate between historians of Stalinism in the pages of the scholarly journal The Russian Review in 1986 and 1987. Sparked off by a review essay by the social historian Sheila Fitzpatrick, it led to a broad range of emotional responses to Stalinism and the politics of history-writing in the late Cold War.
Fifty years ago Enoch Powell made national headlines with his 'Rivers of Blood' speech, warning of an immigrant invasion in the once respectable streets of Wolverhampton. This local fixation brought the Black Country town into the national spotlight, yet Powell's unstable relationship with Wolverhampton has since been overlooked. Drawing from oral history and archival material, this book offers a rich local history through which to investigate the speech, bringing to life the racialised dynamics of space during a critical moment in British history. What was going on beneath the surface in Wolverhampton and how did Powell's constituents respond to this dramatic moment? The research traces the ways in which Powell's words reinvented the town and uncovers highly contested local responses. While Powell left Wolverhampton in 1974, the book returns to the city to explore the collective memories of the speech that continue to reverberate. In a contemporary period of new crisis and division, examining the shadow of Powell allows us to reflect on racism and resistance from 1968 to the present day.
Since his death in 1998, memories of Powell have been partial yet persistent and forever associated with his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. Each year on 20 April, the anniversary of this speech, there are renewed effort to canonise Powell. Many of those who attempt this canonisation of Powell suggest, however, that his legacy must be detangled from a politics of race. Instead, invoking Powell is often used as a signifier in more coded debates as a politics that was first able to establish ‘magical connections’ and ‘short-circuits’ between the themes of race and immigration control, while evoking the images of the nation, the British people and the destruction of ‘our culture, our way of life’. Tracing the genealogy of these memories allows us to analyse the continuities, fissures and contradictions of racism as an ideology which has coalesced around the symbolism of Powell. The chapter examines the survival processes of Powell’s memory and his partial rehabilitation from the wilderness.
This chapter explores in detail the resistance, or what Powell described as the ‘insolence’, of immigrants in the town. The chapter first examines these dynamics within the workplace, with a particular focus on a dispute on the local buses. The chapter then moves on to the school setting and the ways in which immigration was framed in the town’s schools. Both the schools and the buses became critical examples within Powell’s new racial politics. Yet what was happening on the ground seemed to suggest new ways of living and working that would, over the next decade, challenge the racial divisions Powell was stoking.
Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech provided a language for a new form of politics in Wolverhampton to coalesce. Within days of the speech, thousands of those very ‘ordinary decent’ people who Powell had invoked responded publicly to his speech. At a time of political and economic uncertainty, their actions illuminated the ways in which a specific section of the population comes to think of itself as white. This chapter takes a closer examination at how this reinvention of race played out in the immediate response to Powell’s words.