The Soviet feature film Black Skin (Chernaia kozha), produced at the Kyiv studios of Ukrainfil’m in 1931, is based on the true story of Black American Robert Robinson, a
The Soviet feature film Black Skin (Chernaia kozha), produced at the Kyiv studios of Ukrainfil’m in 1931, is based on the true story of Black American Robert Robinson, a toolmaker who left the Ford factory in Depression America in 1930 to work at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory. There, he was attacked by two of his white American colleagues, who were swiftly convicted of “national chauvinism” and sentenced to expulsion from the USSR. These events gave the Soviet press an opportunity to condemn US racism and to call for the reeducation of Five-Year Plan guestworkers in the ways of Soviet racial solidarity. This paper argues that Black Skin as an aesthetic object exceeded its documentary and educational mandate, approaching an imagery of collective ecstasy at the bonding of workers with black and white skin. The fact that this anti-racist Soviet film was produced in Ukraine, which Russia is now attempting to re-colonize, only adds to the urgency of retrieving the shared material practices of a socialist collectivity that has gone lost.
Der Vortrag von Christina Kiaer (Northwestern University) findet in Präsenz im Rahmen des Seminar “Andersdenken/Umdenken” statt. Ort: Osteuropa-Institut, Garystr. 55, Raum 121
Freie Universität BerlinHabelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin