Marianna Tax Choldin - "Garden of Broken Statues" - Judith E. Stein

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Marianna Tax Choldin discusses Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia. She will be joined in conversation by Judith E. Stein.

At the Co-op


About the book: Captivated at a young age by Russia, Marianna Tax Choldin immersed herself as a student at the University of Chicago in that country's language and culture. In her book she describes the tension between her strong commitment to freedom of expression and her growing understanding of Russian and Soviet censorship. Fluent in Russian, she travels widely in post-Soviet Russia, speaking with hundreds of Russians about their own censorship history. She writes of the close friendships she formed in Russia, and reflects on her Jewish roots in the country her family had left behind 100 years earlier.

About the author: Marianna Tax Choldin is Mortenson Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1991 she became the founding director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, which she led until her retirement at the end of 2002. As director, she developed programs that bring librarians from all over the world to Urbana-Champaign, some for short courses and some for extended periods of study. At the time of her retirement, nearly 600 Mortenson Associates from 76 countries had spent time on the campus. Under Professor Choldin's direction the Center initiated cooperative programs with libraries, library associations, universities, and other organizations in Russia, Central America, Haiti, Georgia, and South Africa.

Professor Choldin has traveled all over the world to work with librarians, promoting improved library services, new technologies, and especially freedom of information. From 1997 to 2000 she chaired the multifaceted library program of the Soros Foundation, which has distributed millions of dollars to libraries and librarians in more than 30 countries.

Educated at the University of Chicago, Marianna Tax Choldin received her bachelor's degree with Phi Beta Kappa in 1962 and her doctorate in 1979. She was on the faculty of the University of Illinois-Urbana from 1969 through 2002. She was an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and served as director of the Russian and East European Center and head of the Slavic and East European Library.

In her own research Professor Choldin studies censorship in Russia, the Soviet Union, and the post-Communist world. The author of numerous articles and books, she is best known for A Fence Around the Empire: Russian Censorship of Western Ideas Under the Tsars and The Red Pencil: Artists, Scholars, and Censors in the USSR (co-edited with Maurice Friedberg). In 1995 she was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. In 2000 the government of Russia awarded her the Pushkin Gold Medal for contributions to culture. In 2001 she was the first recipient of the University of Illinois' Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement. In 2005 the American Library Association's International Relations Committee gave her the John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award for significant contributions to international librarianship. From 2004 through 2010 she was founding president of the Rudomino Library Council USA, an organization supporting projects that promoted tolerance in Russia. In 2011 Professor Choldin received a public service award from the University of Chicago, and the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Her latest book, Garden of Broken Statues: Exploring Censorship in Russia (Academic Studies Press) was published in 2016. A Russian-language edition is scheduled for publication in Moscow in 2017 (Rudomino Book Center). A German-language edition is underway.

About the interlocutor: Long time Hyde Park resident and University of Chicago alumna in English Language and Literature, Judith E. Stein was English Department Chair at Kenwood Academy and a consultant to the College Board for two decades. Following her early retirement from CPS, she taught at Roosevelt University and University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)  before reinventing herself as "The Jazz Lady," a co-founder of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and promoter of jazz on the Southside of Chicago. She has served on the UChicago Alumni Board of Governors and has chaired her last four class reunions. She and Marianna have been friends since their student days in the College of UChicago.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637