the book "Are you carrying any gold or living relatives" sitting on top of the American and Soviet Union flags

Graduate Student Work-in-Progress: “Take Polaroid: Showcasing the American Way of Life in the Soviet Union”

American humorist Irene Kampen chronicled her eight-week sojourn to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1969 in her travelogue, Are You Carrying Any Gold or Living Relatives?, published by Doubleday in 1970. In a talk for the Baker-Nord Center for the humanities, Michael Metsner, a PhD candidate in the Department of History, will focus on a particular item neatly packed in Kampen’s luggage for her journey behind the “Iron Curtain”—the Polaroid camera.

This modern exemplar of American technological innovation proved to be an irresistible lure for Soviets wherever and whenever Kampen used it in public, but there is much more to the story than simply Soviet enchantment with the latest American gadget.

He will deliver his Graduate Student Work-in-Progress talk, titled “Take Polaroid: Showcasing the American Way of Life in the Soviet Union,” Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206.

A pre-lecture reception will begin at 4:15 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, but online registration is recommended.