Glossy Communism: Polite Propaganda from the Eastern Bloc


This Scalar book features student essays on English-language glossy magazines published by the formerly socialist Eastern European countries at the height of the Cold War and distributed in the capitalist West as a form of "polite propaganda." These include Soviet Life, Bulgaria Today, Czechoslovak Life, and Yugoslav Life, all of which are held by the Perry–Castañeda Library at the University of Texas at Austin. Modeled on LIFE magazine and other "glossy" periodicals, the magazines contain high quality photographic illustrations and articles on various aspects of life in one-party state socialism, focusing especially on its cultural, scientific, and social achievements. This website is not intended to serve as a comprehensive publishing history of the periodicals; rather, each essay critically engages a representative topic, providing the reader with a brief snapshot into the magazines' contents, historical context, and rhetorical performance.

The content for this book was created by the M.A. students in the Graduate Seminar in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Civilizations and Cultures (fall 2019) at the University of Texas at Austin. The project was supervised by Vladislav Beronja, Assistant Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, with the help of Ian Goodale, the European Studies Librarian. 

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