The Double: Dubbing Western Films in the Soviet Union


This presentation discusses the incorporation of Western films into Soviet cities and visual culture during the 1950s and 60s. In this talk, I will compare Soviet dubbing with various translation theories debated in the 1950s; describe how the process altered Western films to create what I call sensory forgery – the amalgam of foreign materiality and Russian language; and explore the implications of the incongruity between speech and image for audience reception.

I am a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. The enduring concern of my research is how texts, images, objects, and people move across geopolitical and ideological borders. This interest has led me to focus on translation practices and cultural diplomacy in my first book, Western Culture in the Soviet Union, a history of the Soviet opening to the West during the 1950s and 1960s. I am beginning research for a second book, Weary Sun, a history of tango in Russia and the Soviet Union. I teach at the University of Chicago.