Samizdat, Tamizdat, and Beyond. Transnational Media During and After Socialism


In many ways what is identified today as “cultural globalization” in Eastern Europe has its roots in the Cold War phenomena of samizdat (“do-it-yourself” underground publishing) and tamizdat (publishing abroad). Samizdat, Tamizdat, and Beyond offers a new understanding of how information flowed between East and West during the Cold War, as well as the much broader circulation of cultural products instigated and sustained by these practices. By expanding the definitions of samizdat and tamizdat from explicitly political, print publications to include other forms and genres, this volume investigates the wider cultural sphere of alternative and semi-official texts, broadcast media, reproductions of visual art and music, and, in the post-1989 period, new media. The underground circulation of uncensored texts in the Cold War era serves as a useful foundation for comparison when looking at current examples of censorship, independent media and the use of new media in countries like China, Iran, and the former Yugoslavia.

Samizdat, Tamizdat, and Beyond offers a long awaited rethinking of dissent at the grassroots level.  Looking primarily but not exclusively to the Eastern Bloc, this volume skillfully stretches our understanding of samizdat to incorporate visual art, music, video, and the web. The editors bring together seemingly disparate samizdat ‘texts’ by placing them within the larger context of transnationalism, gender, and mass media. In so doing, they remind us that dissent is, first and foremost, a creative human endeavor; one that not only has a history but also a future.”
Paulina Bren, Vassar College

“The information and insights contained in this volume fill the gap in our knowledge about the vitality, diversity, and ongoing relevance of samizdat/tamizdat and alternative media not only in the post-Communist states represented here, but in emerging democracies in other regions of the world, e.g. the Middle East and Asia.”
Michael Long, Baylor University

Friederike Kind-Kovács is Assistant Professor in the Department of Southeast and East European History at Regensburg University.

Jessie Labov is Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University.

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