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Erica Fraser

Associate Professor - Russian and Soviet history; gender history; Cold War culture; military cultures and postwar societies; daily life, popular culture, and sports and leisure in communist states

Degrees:B.A. Hons (University of Calgary), M.A. (University of British Columbia), Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2836
Email:erica.fraser@carleton.ca
Office:447 Paterson Hall
Twitter:Follow

Research Interests

  • Russian and Soviet history
  • Gender history
  • Cold War cultures
  • Military cultures and postwar societies
  • Daily life, popular culture, and sports and leisure in communist states

I am a historian of Russia with a particular interest in gender and culture in the Soviet Union during the 20th century.

photo of book cover with two soldiers standing facing each otherMy first book, Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union (University of Toronto Press, 2019), explores the complexities of military masculinity in the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Catastrophic wartime casualties and postwar discomfort with the successes of women who had served in combat roles combined to shatter prewar ideals about what service meant for Soviet masculine identity. The soldier had to be re-imagined and resold to a public that had just emerged from the Second World War and a younger generation suspicious of state control. In doing so, Soviet military culture wrote women out and attempted to re-establish soldiering as the premier form of masculinity in society.

My current book project is called Soviet Hockey Stories. Using hockey as both a case study and a storytelling metaphor, this project visits various cultural hockey sites of meaning across the 20th century, including: the restrictions imposed on a previously vibrant women’s hockey community after 1945; the celebrity surrounding certain star players; popular arena crowd songs; and the creation of films that both enabled and disrupted particular metaphors about hockey in Soviet society.

I am accepting graduate students in Russian and East European gender history, war and culture on the Eastern front, Cold War societies and cultures, and sports history. Students interested in gender and culture in imperial Russia before the 20th century are also encouraged to get in touch with me.

Select Publications

Book

Erica L. Fraser, Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019).

Peer-reviewed Articles

Erica L. Fraser and Danielle C. Kinsey, “Introduction: The Strawpeople of Russian, Eastern European, and Soviet History in English-Language TV and Film,” Special Issue of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques: “Russians on TV: History and Characters in Twenty-First Century Anglosphere Television and Film,” Vol. 50, no. 2 (2024), 1-13.

Erica L. Fraser, “Not-Russians on TV: Class, Comedy, and the Peculiarities of East European Otherness on 2 Broke Girls.” Special Issue of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques: “Russians on TV: History and Characters in Twenty-First Century Anglosphere Television and Film,” Vol. 50, no. 2 (2024), 77-92.

Erica L. Fraser and Kateryna Tonkykh, “Cosmonaut Gossip: Socialist Masculinity as Private-Public Performance in the Kamanin Diaries,” Aspasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History, Vol. 15 (2021), 61-80.

Erica L. Fraser, “Yuri Gagarin and Celebrity Masculinity in Soviet Culture,” in Philip E. Muehlenbeck, ed, Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2017): 270-89.

Erica L. Fraser, “Soviet Masculinities and Revolution,” in Catherine Baker, ed, Gender in 20th-Century Eastern Europe and the USSR (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017): 127-40.

Erica L. Fraser, “Gender and Sexuality in Russian History: New Directions.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Vol. 25, no. 2 (June 2015): 319-28.

Erica L. Fraser, “Masculinity in the Personal Narratives of Soviet Nuclear Physicists,” Aspasia, Vol. 8 (2014): 45-63.

 

Other Recent Writing

Erica L. Fraser, “When Class Content Gives the Professor Nightmares, It Might be Time for a Warning.” Active History, Feb. 21, 2024.

Erica L. Fraser, “On New Martial Masculinities for Russia and Ukraine.” Ukrainian Dispatches, The New Fascism Syllabus, March 2, 2022.

Erica L. Fraser, “Women, War, and Crisis” – a Conversation about Marko Dumančić, Men out of Focus: The Soviet Masculinity Crisis in the Long Sixties. Russian History Blog, June 2, 2021.

Erica L. Fraser, “Historicizing Homophobia and Visualizing Masculinity since 1945,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Vol. 21, no. 2 (Spring 2020), 453-58.

Podcast Interviews

Military Masculinity and Postwar Recovery in the Soviet Union.” New Books Network interview, March 2024.

Soviet Military Masculinity.” SRB Podcast interview, August 2020.

Real Men Play Hockey.” Podcast interview with the Wilson Center Digital Archive, Sport in the Cold War workshop series, May 2015.

Recent Conference Presentations

“The Peculiarities of Women’s Hockey in the Soviet Union before World War II.” Association for Women in Slavic Studies conference, Urbana IL, June 2024.

“Not-Russians on TV: Class, Comedy, and the Peculiarities of East European Otherness on 2 Broke Girls.” Popular Culture Association Annual Conference, Chicago IL, March 2024.

“Vsevolod Bobrov and Heroic Masculinity in the Soviet 1950s.” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Annual Convention, December 2021 (New Orleans, virtual).

“Gender, Heroism, and the Sports Superstar in Postwar Soviet Culture: Vsevolod Bobrov’s Celebrity Masculinity.” North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) Annual Conference, May 2021 (virtual).

Invited Keynote address: “Soviet Masculinities at a Crossroads.” Men and Masculinities under Socialism: A Social and Cultural History. International Workshop, Institute of History, University of Bern, Switzerland (virtual), October 2020.

Recent Graduate Supervisions 

Mathiew King, “Hail to the Merry Macs: Analyzing the Regulation of Women as Wage Earners and Athletes at McKinnon Industries in St. Catharines, Ontario: 1936-1964.” History MA (MRE), 2024. (Co-supervised with John Walsh).

Lorie-Ann Savard, “Women and Combat: The Experiences and Memories of Soviet Women at the Front in World War II.” History MA (MRE), 2022.

Precious Oluwasanya, “Sparrows, Widows, and Nesting Dolls: Evolving Perceptions of the Russian Other in Western Film and Television.” EURUS MA (MRE), 2021.

Rachel Scott, “‘Hidden Histories,’ Historical Fiction, and Intergenerational Traumas: An Examination of Ruta Sepetys and Lithuanian Diasporic Identity.” Public History MA (MRE), 2021. (Co-supervised with Jennifer Evans).