Jason R Morton

Visiting Lecturer
3422 Dwinelle

My book project explores the relationship between grand narratives and individual identity in the Soviet context by analyzing the popular mythology of Vasilii Ivanovich Chapaev. It uses the concept of heroism to bridge the divide between the collective and the discrete historical actor. The category of the hero, long central to historical narratives, has garnered scant attention in recent years. Contemporary history, which tends to emphasize the ‘bottom-up,’ has rightly pushed back against the representation of history as the province of powerful individuals. Yet heroism, too, can be explored from a bottom-up perspective by analyzing individual and popular engagement with heroic ideals. Centering on the concept of myth, my work focuses on representations of Chapaev as a ‘people’s hero’ to explain how an individual became a cultural icon central to the self-representation of the Soviet state, and why a multitude of individuals appropriated this myth, building it into their own lives.


Semester Course Title Syllabus
Spring 2018 171C The Soviet Union, 1917 to the Present
Fall 2017 173C History of Eastern Europe: From 1900 to the Present