Love in the Thaw: Brendan McElmeel on Sex in Soviet Russia

Making of a Historian

Aug 18 2020 • 50 mins


For show notes, check the website historian.live. Get email reminders of when I make stuff: makingofahistorian.substack.com So this episode is an absolute blast. I talk with my old friend Brendan McElmeel—yes, another Brendan M—about his dissertation research on love during the thaw years of the USSR. But before I gush to you about how good the interview is, I have to offer a bit of a mea culpa. I ended the interview too soon! Brendan’s research delves into the limits of the Soviet sexual revolution as well—and how there were a lot of groups left out of the process he’s talking about. But we never get there. Because I ended the interview too soon. I’m a bit worried you’re going to get too rosy a view of what we’re talking about—and take Brendan as being too uncritical or accepting of the people he studies. We’ll have to have him back on the show to talk more about his research when he gets another chapter done so he can correct the record. Now time to gush. Brendan has done such great research into the everyday life of a time period I don’t think we often hear about—that of Soviet Russia. You’ll learn about the horny balconies of group homes, dances, and a brief history of the Soviet Union. And you’ll learn about two Brendans stumbling through the study of history together.