The Wayland Rudd Collection: Exploring Racial Imaginaries in Soviet Visual Culture by Yevgeniy Fiks

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"The Wayland Rudd Collection provides an essential resource to scholars of race and decolonialism, particularly those interested in the minority experience in an ideological context other than American capitalism" – Christianna Bonin, Russian Art Focus

The Wayland Rudd Collection presents artist Yevgeniy Fiks’s archive of Soviet media images of Africans and African Americans – from propaganda posters to postage stamps – mainly related to African liberation movements and civil rights struggles. Meditations, reflections, and research-based essays by scholars, poets, and artists address the complicated intersection of race and Communist internationalism, with particular focus on the Soviet Union’s critique of systemic racism in the US.

The project is named after Wayland Rudd (1900–1952), a Black American actor who moved to the Soviet Union in 1932 and appeared in many Soviet films and theatrical performances. The stories of Rudd and other expat African Americans in the Soviet Union are given special attention in the book.

Bringing together post-colonial and post-Soviet perspectives, the book maps the complicated and often contradictory intersection of race and Communism in the Soviet context, exposing the interweaving of internationalism, solidarity, humanism, and Communist ideals with practices of othering and exoticization.

Conceived and introduced by Yevgeniy Fiks; with a foreword by Lewis Gordon; and contributions by Kate Baldwin, Jonathan Flatley, Joy Gleason Carew, Raquel Greene, Douglas Kearney, Christina Kiaer, Maxim Matusevich, Denise Milstein, Vladimir Paperny, MaryLouise Patterson, Meredith Roman, Jonathan Shandell, Christopher Stackhouse, Marina Temkina.