‘Sport in the USSR’ goes Russian
28 April 2010
The Russian language journal 'Vedomosti' has recently published an extract from Bristol art historian Mike O’Mahony’s book 'Sport in the USSR: Physical Culture – Visual Culture'.
The article, included in the issue of 23 April 2010, is to promote the new translation of the book into Russian, to be released by the publishing house New Literary Review in summer 2010.
Dr O’Mahony, who is delighted that the book will now be available and accessible to Russian readers, said: ‘It feels like the book is going home, back to where it all began. So many of the ideas explored in the text owe their genesis to times spent in libraries, art galleries, and even at football matches in the Russian capital, so I’m thrilled at the thought that non-English speaking students of Russian art history and sport history mIght now be looking at my work as part of their own studies and research.’
Sport in the USSR was originally published in 2006 by Reaktion Books Ltd. It examines physical culture within a wide range of Soviet cultural practices, paying special attention to visual culture. In particular it explores the role that physical culture played in the formulation of the Soviet New Person. Here, visual culture was deployed not only to promote the existence of this notional new being, but also to articulate the very process of transformation that brought him or her into existence. Images of sportsmen and women were also widely produced to conflate the leisurely nature of sports practice with the civic duty of voluntary labour, especially during the industrialisation drives and the military defence of the nation. Also examined are such issues as sports spectatorship and participation; the development of the sports parade; the role of fizkultura during military conflict; the deployment of fizkultura as a weapon during the Cold War; and the collapse of the Soviet sports machine.