Writing

M.A. Thesis

Archival image from the New York Public Library
George Kennan, Sukhomlin, Sukhomlina, 1920. Slavic and East European Collections, The New York Public Library. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-41c2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Title:

“Memory and History in the Archive: Photographs of Political Dissidents in Forced Labor Camps in Late Nineteenth-Century Siberia” 

Subjects:

Political Prisoners, Exile, Siberia (Russia), George Kennan, Photography, Archive, Album, 19th Century

Abstract:

“Memory and History in the Archive: Photographs of Political Dissidents in Forced Labor Camps in Late Nineteenth-Century Siberia,” examines an album of photographs compiled by the American explorer and scholar George Kennan (1845-1924). Although scholars such as Frederick Travis and Frith Maier have examined Kennan’s biography and writing, no art historical examination of the album and Kennan’s relationship to it has been completed. As a result of his travels through Russia, Kennan began a collection of photographs of political prisoners sentenced to exile and forced labor in Siberia in the late nineteenth century. This thesis examines the different registers of meaning occupied by the album in relation to memory, history, and the archive. While constructing the album from photographs and text in his archive, Kennan moved through different spheres of meaning, redefining his relationship to the photographs. The result is a multimedia examination of the exile experience as viewed from Kennan’s perspective. Through a close analysis of Kennan’s methods and motivations, this thesis argues that the form of the album is situated in liminal paradigms of aesthetic and archival meaning.

Link to the PDF:

https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/101195

Copyright Maria V. Garth 2018