Tamara Polyakova

  • Fellowship year:2022-2023
  • University: University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: Modern Europe
  • Dissertation Title: Everyday Life in Russian Karelia During the Russian Civil War, 1918-1922. The Soldiers, the Civilians, and their Environment
  • Late in 1917, the formerly internal boundary between Russia and Finland became an international border. During the next four years, the area immediately east of this border – Karelia, inhabited by a Finno-Ugric people called Karelians – was the setting of a civil and international war. Adopting a micro-historical approach, my dissertation explores the ways in which the native Karelians, as well as the soldiers and administrators coming from outside of the region, experienced this conflict and understood the events unfolding around them.

    I base my dissertation on documents produced in and about the smallest Karelian villages. Fitted together, they form a picture of individuals’ everyday life in wartime, without which a narrative of a war – a confusing event with no pre-determined outcome – remains incomplete. In an attempt to disrupt the more traditional military/political narratives driven by chronology, I have chosen to structure my dissertation around the four most prominent themes that have emerged during archival research:
    cultural encounters, role of nature in warfare, hunger as a political agent, and the personal and institutional memory of this conflict.