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Polly McMichael

Lecturer in Russian and Slavonic Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

  • Soviet and post-Soviet popular music
  • 20th and 21st century Russian culture
  • Slovenian culture

Teaching Summary

The Soviet Experiment (MLAC1161) European Silent Cinema (MLAC2168) Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin (MLAC2069) Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st… read more

Research Summary

My main project is a study of the phenomenon of rock stardom in the last decades of the Soviet Union. I examine rock music's creation of meaning in the Soviet context from different perspectives,… read more

Selected Publications

  • The Soviet Experiment (MLAC1161)
  • European Silent Cinema (MLAC2168)
  • Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin (MLAC2069)
  • Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries (MLAC3086)

Current Research

My main project is a study of the phenomenon of rock stardom in the last decades of the Soviet Union. I examine rock music's creation of meaning in the Soviet context from different perspectives, including the culture of magnitizdat and 'officially' released recordings, the significance and mythologies of live performance, the place of the verbal text in rock music, and the modes of individual and collective authorship that rock groups create. I also look at the ways in which rock music, traditionally thought of as a non-official or even oppositional form of expression, co-existed with the cultural institutions of the Soviet state.

In parallel with this research, I am working on aspects of the legacy of rock music of the Soviet era, including its incorporation into contemporary political discourse.

I am currently a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Notes from the Zone of Kaif, which presents and analyses the writings and drawings of the Moscow hippie Azazello. My work for the project focuses on Azazello's engagement with rock music.

I welcome enquiries from research students interested in working on topics related to these, or on other aspects of cultural production under socialism or in post-socialist contexts.

Past Research

My PhD focused on the development of rock music culture in Leningrad before glasnost and on the texts, performances and personas of the singer-songwriters Boris Grebenshchikov (Akvarium) and Maik Naumenko (Zoopark). I have published articles and book chapters on rock music during the Soviet era, as well as on the representation of Soviet popular music in the Putin era and on other aspects of more recent music culture.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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