Talking History – November 13, 2017

In this talking history, Professor Steven Harris spoke about his own research on Areoflot History and how it contributed to late socialism within the Soviet Union. Aeroflot was the first and only Soviet Union airline. Professor Harris started his research in the economic archives in the Moscow region. He focuses on state archives, looks into the passenger experiences, and what it was like to fly Aeroflot. Professor Harris stressed the importance of looking at sources in a variety of different ways, and did this by studying the letters of complaints that the Soviet Union strongly encouraged, creating the first ideas of socialism in the Soviet Union. He discovered a Russian journalist who kept the letters of complaints for which he was going to publish in Russia to exploit Aeroflot with their inability to meet the expectations of what they should be providing to the state. The expectations that the State had with the Soviet Union changed with time. When this journalist came to America he donated the letters to the Library of Congress. Professor Harris then went in to the importance of sources and getting those sources peer reviewed. He actually spoke about the conferences he organized around the world, where scholars from everywhere get together and share their own research and provide help to others. At the end of this talking history Professor Harris stressed on the importance of sources, and how throughout writing and researching, peer reviews are necessary when bringing everything together.

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