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Please join us in a standing ovation for UNC PhD alumni, Dr. Marko Dumančić! Dr. Dumančić’s book, Men out of Focus, won the 2022 Svetlana Boym Best Book in Cultural Studies Award presented by AATSEEEL! You can buy his book through the University of Toronto Press here or learn more about his current work at Western Kentucky University here.


Marko Dumančić, Men Out of Focus. Toronto University Press, 2021.

In Men Out of Focus, Marko Dumančić works at the intersections of film studies, cultural
history, sociology, and gender studies to offer bold conclusions about the status of masculinity during the Thaw period. Turning away from familiar discussions of the effects of World War II on Soviet gender relations, Dumančić instead draws our attention to the consequences of modernity with its “mass consumerism, (sub)urbanization, technological revolution, and the democratization of the public space” (8). Broad in scope and meticulous in detail, this book helps us understand how masculinity could be framed as both powerful and fragile at the same time. The book includes a thorough overview of the debates over masculinity in the postwar period, an analysis of the changing discourse of fatherhood, the new variations on the age-old problem of “fathers and sons,” and the challenges posed by modern womanhood, all buttressed by theoretically-informed close readings of Soviet films from the time. Particularly noteworthy is a chapter on masculinity and Soviet science: the culture fostered a vast love of science along with a deep suspicion of scientists themselves. Men Out of Focus is an invaluable contribution to both film studies and the growing scholarship on Soviet masculinity.

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