A is for AZBUKA anew: reading (the art, pedagogy and politics of) early Soviet illustrated primers

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Abstract

The reconstitution of social and intellectual being that comprised the goal of the new Soviet authorities following their seizure of political power in late 1917 signalled a fundamental campaign for literacy. The process of learning to read was commenced in a traditional way, i.e. through school lessons and by illustrated primer (azbuka/bukvar) in which letter, word and image were text. In the attempt to instill a socialist consciousness in every adult and child ‘HOW’ and ‘WHAT’ to read took on new significance. Just as the Cyrillic alphabet was reformed so too were the primers, with content and meanings being radically altered. It is the actuality and process of this transformation over the first fifteen years of Sovietised Russia and as revealed through four illustrated primers, that is the subject of this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages28
JournalHistoire@Politique
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Azbuka
  • Bukvar
  • Primer
  • Literacy
  • Illustrated

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