Dr. Rhiannon Dowling, Historical Studies alum, gives talk
We’re All Thieves Here: The Soviet War on Crime
We’re All Thieves Here: The Soviet War on Crime and the End of Criminal Justice Reform, 1959-1991
Ever since the Bolshevik revolution, Soviet leaders had believed that crime would disappear in their society along with all other vestiges of capitalism. When, by the 1960s, multiple generations had been born and raised under socialism and crime still persisted, the state and its representatives decided to take a more proactive approach. State-sponsored research into the causes of crime, public media campaigns (in journalism, literature, film, and television programs), and grassroots groups of professionals, ordinary people, and even some convicted criminals, collectively brought discussions of crime to the center of public life through the 1960s and 1970s. This talk will provide an overview of my research into these public efforts to eliminate crime and discover its causes during the last decades of Soviet rule. I argue that by the 1970s many reformers came to realize that not only was the state not helping to eliminate crime, but it was actually producing it.
Rhiannon Dowling received her MA from UMBC in 2011, and went on to earn her PHD at Berkeley in 2017