Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934

By Matthew D. Pauly

© 2014

In the 1920s and early 1930s, the Communist Party embraced a policy to promote national consciousness among the Soviet Union’s many national minorities as a means of Sovietizing them. In Ukraine, Ukrainian-language schooling, coupled with pedagogical innovation, was expected to serve as the lynchpin of this social transformation for the republic’s children.

The first detailed archival study of the local implications of Soviet nationalities policy, Breaking the Tongue examines the implementation of the Ukrainization of schools and children’s organizations. Matthew D. Pauly demonstrates that Ukrainization faltered because of local resistance, a lack of resources, and Communist Party anxieties about nationalism and a weakening of Soviet power – a process that culminated in mass arrests, repression, and a fundamental adjustment in policy.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 480 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Dimensions: 6.5in x 1.6in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003875

  • PUBLISHED DEC 2014

    From: $67.50

    Regular Price: $90.00

    ISBN 9781442648937
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2014

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    Regular Price: $90.00

Quick Overview

Breaking the Tongue examines the implementation of the Ukrainization of schools and children’s organizations in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934

By Matthew D. Pauly

© 2014

In the 1920s and early 1930s, the Communist Party embraced a policy to promote national consciousness among the Soviet Union’s many national minorities as a means of Sovietizing them. In Ukraine, Ukrainian-language schooling, coupled with pedagogical innovation, was expected to serve as the lynchpin of this social transformation for the republic’s children.

The first detailed archival study of the local implications of Soviet nationalities policy, Breaking the Tongue examines the implementation of the Ukrainization of schools and children’s organizations. Matthew D. Pauly demonstrates that Ukrainization faltered because of local resistance, a lack of resources, and Communist Party anxieties about nationalism and a weakening of Soviet power – a process that culminated in mass arrests, repression, and a fundamental adjustment in policy.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 480 pages
  • Illustrations: 11
  • Dimensions: 6.5in x 1.6in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘This is an important monograph based on meticulous archival research and a solid theoretical foundation, Pauly’s study will be of interest to historians of Ukraine and the Soviet Union, as well as anyone investigating the relationship between education and national identity.’


    Christopher Gilley
    Revolutionary Russia vol 28:02:2015

    ‘Pauly’s highly detailed and highly nuanced monograph is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of how Ukrainization evolved and how the multinational USSR dealt with social contradictions and unintended consequences in its early period.’


    George O. Liber
    The Russian Review, vol 75:01:2016

    ‘Pauly’s book offers a unique and important study of the intersection of school reform and nationalities policy.’


    Lisa A. Kirschenbaum
    Historical Studies in Education vol 29:02:2017

    Breaking the Tongue will be a very useful volume. It is scholarly, well-researched, and highly contextual study with ample sources, including good use of original Ukrainian documents.’


    Svitlana Malykhina
    Canadian Journal of History vol 52:02:2017

    ‘This clearly written and effectively researched monograph focuses on educational policy as it was implemented, challenged, and ultimately practiced in the school houses of Ukraine…. Breaking the Tongue adds an important dimension to Soviet childhood studies.’


    Tom Ewing
    Slavic Review vol 75:02:2016

    ‘Packed with biographies of little-known victims of the 1930s purges, this book gives valuable insight into a pivotal aspect of Soviet history that deserves similar attention in other regions of the former USSR… Highly recommended.’


    E.J. Vajda
    Choice Magazine vol 52:10:2015

    “Matthew Pauly’s Breaking the Tongue is a sober, lucid, and innovative study that will be of great interest to both historians and linguists. His careful investigation of what seems to have actually happened in the schools and other institutions of Ukraine at the time when they were allegedly being Ukrainized demonstrates that Soviet Ukrainization could not in fact work, not only because of the Soviets’ highly ambiguous attitude to their own policy, but also because the entire endeavour suffered from the almost complete lack of the most basic resources, including teachers, textbooks, school buildings, and even paper.”


    Michael Moser, Institut für Slawistik, University of Vienna

    ‘It is a very important step forward in our general understanding of Ukrainization and Soviet nationality politics in the 1920s. It should be read by all those who study Soviet policies of the 1920s and Russian-Ukrainian relations.’


    Alexey Miller
    American Historical Review December 2015

    ‘Pauly’s new book brings to light extensive archival material and offers a unique insight into the workings of the Soviet nationalities policy on the micro-level of the school…. A remarkably timely and relevant contribution to the field.’


    V.Reznik
    Slavonic & East European Review vol 93:04:2015

    Breaking the Tongue is ground-breaking in its focus on the link between education, politics and Ukrainization. This book will be read with great interest by scholars in the fields of Soviet studies, Ukrainian and Russian history, Ukrainization, nationalism, and post-revolutionary cultural-education policy.”


    Myroslav Shkandrij, Department of German and Slavic Studies, University of Manitoba
  • Author Information

    Matthew D. Pauly is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Michigan State University.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    List of Terms

    A Note on Transliteration

    A Note on Administrative Division in Soviet Ukraine

    Introduction

    1: Primary Lessons

    2: Adapting to Place

    3: The Conversion

    4: Treading Carefully

    5: Learning the New Language of Pedagogy

    6: Limited Urgency

    7: The Question of the Working Class

    8: Children as Salvation: The Young Pioneers and Komsomol

    9: Ukrainization in a Non-Ukrainian City

    10: The Correction

    11: Children Corrupted and Exalted

    12: The Path Ahead

    Conclusion

    Biographical and Informational Sketches

    Bibliography

    Index

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