Event—Adult Education

“New Soviet Women:” History, Art, Fiction, and Film (1917-1940)


How did the Soviet state approach women’s liberation and gender policies in the early 20th century?

Soviet women learning to use guns in Baku, Azerbaijan, 1929. Source: corbisimages.com. (archive.is), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

Who were “New Soviet Women?” We will explore the rapid volcanic changes in the lives of the women in the former Soviet Union in the first two decades after the 1917 revolution, comparing the Soviet state’s approaches to women’s liberation and gender policies with the diverse real-life experiences of Soviet women of various ethnicity, class, religion, social status, and geographical background.

We will try to separate myth from reality by examining women’s personal stories, visual art, film, and fiction, including Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina.

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian literature and culture in the Chicago area.

Materials List


  • Guzel Yakhina, Zuleikha. Oneworld Publications , 2020. ISBN: 978-1786076847


First Reading

  • Please enroll into Canvas classroom to review optional handouts.

Cost and Registration

Ten sessions, $383 ($345 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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