A Graphic Revolution

“A big part of post-Soviet life is...caution. By giving it images, I wanted to allow it to come forth out of the darkness...to give a sense of it being somewhat kept at bay.”

Two decades after immigrating from Kiev to Chicago, Julia Alekseyeva found her great-grandmother’s hidden memoirs of a life spanning the Soviet 20th century. With input from comics scholar Hillary Chute, she turned a lifetime of secrets into a work of art.


Referenced in this Episode

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution by Julia Alekseyeva

Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics by Hillary Chute

Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form by Hillary Chute

The work of graphic journalist Joe Sacco. See also Mr. Sacco’s presentation on comics and journalism at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. 

For more information about Julia’s process, as well as discussion about the role of Jewish identity and the influence of Soviet visual culture on her work, listen to audio from her full public talk on Soviet Daughter

Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design, Northeastern University

Assistant Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies, University of Pennsylvania