From Stalin to Mao: Albania and the Socialist World
A book presentation by Elidor Mëhilli (Hunter College, History).
Thursday, January 17, 201912:00 PM - 1:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
From Stalin to Mao captures the powerful globalism of post-1945 socialism, as well as the unintended consequences of cross-border exchanges from the Mediterranean to East Asia. After a decade of vigorous borrowing from the Soviet Union—advisers, factories, school textbooks, urban plans—Albania’s party clique switched allegiance to China during the 1960s Sino-Soviet conflict, seeing in Mao’s patronage an opportunity to keep Stalinism alive. Mëhilli shows how socialism created a shared transnational material and mental culture—still evident today around Eurasia—but it failed to generate political unity. Combining an analysis of ideology with a sharp sense of geopolitics, he brings into view Fascist Italy’s involvement in Albania, then explores the country’s Eastern bloc entanglements, the profound fascination with the Soviets, and the contradictions of the dramatic anti-Soviet turn. Richly illustrated with never-before-published photographs, From Stalin to Mao draws on a wealth of Albanian, Russian, German, British, Italian, Czech, and American archival sources, in addition to fiction, interviews, and memoirs. Mëhilli’s fresh perspective on the Soviet-Chinese battle for the soul of revolution in the global Cold War also illuminates the paradoxes of state planning in the twentieth century.
Elidor Mëhilli’s research interests include modern Europe, authoritarian regimes, non-capitalist forms of globalization, and political and economic integration/disintegration. He has also written on de-Stalinization as a historical problem, urbanism as an angle into writing local, national, and transnational histories of socialism, the concept of "self-reliance" in Albanian-North Korean interactions in the 1960s, and on Soviet-Albanian-Chinese encounters in film across the Sino-Soviet split. Other work has appeared in the official catalogue of the Pavilion of the Republic of Albania at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). He has also published popular commentary in Quartz, The Conversation, and in the largest Albanian-language daily newspapers.
Cost : Free and open to the public. RSVP not required for admission.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies