A.K. 47 - Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai

A.K. 47 - Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai

Kristen R. Ghodsee reads and discusses 47 selections from the works of Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952), a socialist women's activist who had radical ideas about the intersections of socialism and women's emancipation. Born into aristocratic privilege, the Russian Kollontai was initially a member of the Mensheviks before she joined Lenin and the Bolsheviks and became an important revolutionary figure during the 1917 Russian Revolution. Kollontai was a socialist theorist of women’s emancipation and a strident proponent of sexual relations freed from all economic considerations. After the October Revolution, Kollontai became the Commissar of Social Welfare and helped to found the Zhenotdel (the women's section of the Party). She oversaw a wide variety of legal reforms and public policies to help liberate working women and to create the basis of a new socialist sexual morality. But Russians were not ready for her vision of emancipation, and she was sent away to Norway to serve as the fi... Show More

Episodes

In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee reads the third part of Alexandra Kollontai's 1923 short story, "The Loves of Three Generations," her most controversial piece of fiction and one that caused her terrible amounts of trouble with her Bolshevik colleagues. This story is written as a letter to Kollontai from a revolutionary comrade who is having personal problems and seeks Kollontai's advice. This colleague wants ... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee reads the second part of Alexandra Kollontai's 1923 short story, "The Loves of Three Generations," her most controversial piece of fiction and one that caused her terrible amounts of trouble with her Bolshevik colleagues. This story is written as a letter to Kollontai from a revolutionary comrade who is having personal problems and seeks Kollontai's advice. This colleague wants... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee reads the first part of Alexandra Kollontai's 1923 short story, "The Loves of Three Generations," her most controversial piece of fiction and one that caused her terrible amounts of trouble with her Bolshevik colleagues. This story is written as a letter to Kollontai from a revolutionary comrade who is having personal problems and seeks Kollontai's advice. This colleague wants ... Read more

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In this bonus episode, Kristen Ghodsee speaks once again with Angelina Eimannsberger, a doctoral student in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, about Alexandra Kollontai and the usefulness of her theories today, particularly with regard to popular culture. Mentioned in this episode are Reese Witherspoon's pro... Read more

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November 29, 2019 17 min

In this episode, Kristen Ghodsee reads Alexandra Kollontai's short story, "Soon (In 48 years time)," written in 1922 about her imagination of the future of the Soviet Union. This is the first piece of Kollontai's fiction to appear on this podcast and it imagines a future "fir tree festival" on the 7th of January 1970 where the young people living on Commune 10 no longer know the words for "rich" a... Read more

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Kristen R. Ghodsee reads and discusses part three of Alexandra Kollontai's 1921 essay, "Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations." This essay is a precursor to "Make Way for Winged Eros" where Kollontai develops her Marxist understanding of marriage and the family as being part of the ideological superstructure, which is determined by the base of economic relations. Kollontai argues tha... Read more

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Kristen R. Ghodsee reads and discusses part two of Alexandra Kollontai's 1921 essay, "Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations." This essay is a precursor to "Make Way for Winged Eros" where Kollontai develops her Marxist understanding of marriage and the family as being part of the ideological superstructure, which is determined by the base of economic relations. Kollontai argues that ... Read more

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Kristen R. Ghodsee reads and discusses part one of Alexandra Kollontai's 1921 essay, "Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations." This essay is a precursor to "Make Way for Winged Eros" where Kollontai develops her Marxist understanding of marriage and the family as being part of the ideological superstructure, which is determined by the base of economic relations. Kollontai argues that ... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen Ghodsee gives some more context to Alexandra Kollontai's life by reading from the texts of two women who knew her personally: the American Louise Bryant and the Spaniard Isabel de Palencia. Based on her personal meeting with Kollontai in the early years of the revolution, Louise Bryant wrote about Kollontai in her 1918 book, Six Red Months in Russia, and in her 1923 book, Mirrors of Mosc... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen Ghodsee discusses the title and content of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 book, The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman, with her 17-year-old daughter. Particularly salient is the question of trolls and haters in politics, and whether having a lot of critics actually amplifies one's message.

This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when ... Read more

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In this seventh episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads the final section of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman.  In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her work during and after the Civil War and the beginning of her diplomatic career in Norway. Once again, her ideas on love and sexuality fall afoul of her party comrades and she struggl... Read more

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In this sixth episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part VI of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman.  In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her work as Commissar of Social Welfare during the early years of the Soviet regime. She again mentions the many attacks against her: the threatening letters and all of the vitriol she dealt with as... Read more

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In this fifth episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part V of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman.  In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her work in New York and her return to Russia in March 1917. She also discusses getting trolled by the newspapers in St. Petersburg and the many insults and indignities she suffered as a prominent Bo... Read more

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In this fourth episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part IV of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman.  In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her time in exile in Western Europe, going to jail in Sweden, lecturing in America, and joining the Bolsheviks in 1915. She also has a short aside on her own love life and the joys and frustrations... Read more

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In this third episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part III of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when she was 54-years-old and a veteran of the revolution. Lenin was already dead, Stalin was seizing power, and Kollontai was reflecting on the achievements of her life thus far. The ini... Read more

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In this second episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part II of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when she was 54-years-old and a veteran of the revolution. Lenin was already dead, Stalin was seizing power, and Kollontai was reflecting on the achievements of her life thus far. The ini... Read more

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In this first episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part I of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when she was 54-years-old and a veteran of the revolution. Lenin was already dead, Stalin was seizing power, and Kollontai was reflecting on the achievements of her life thus far. The initi... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee's reads the fifth and final part of her selections from Alexandra Kollontai's 1909 book, The Social Basis of the Woman Question. This manuscript was written while Alexandra Kolllontai was in exile from Tsarist Russia and affiliated with the German Social Democratic party. This is a key text in... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee's reads the fourth part of her selections from Alexandra Kollontai's 1909 book, The Social Basis of the Woman Question. This manuscript was written while Alexandra Kolllontai was in exile from Tsarist Russia and affiliated with the German Social Democratic party. This is a key text in the hist... Read more

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In this episode, Kristen Ghodsee's teenage daughter returns to discuss some recent comments by a Canadian psychology professor who believes that women should embrace the "adventure of motherhood," even if it requires great sacrifice and ends in pain and suffering. This A.K. 47 episode is a relevant reflection on the ongoing reading of Alexa... Read more

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