Olga Blackledge Begins New Year with 2015-16 Mellon Fellowship
Congratulations to Olga Blackledge who has been awarded the Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship for the academic year 2015-2016. During this year Olga will be working on her dissertation “Animated States: The Technology, Politics, and Aesthetics of Soviet and German Cel Animation, 1930-1940s” under the direction of her advisor, Professor Ronald J. Zboray. Her dissertation focuses upon the industrial turn in Soviet and German hand-drawn, non-commercial, animation production and considers government involvement in the development of the animation industries in both Germany and the Soviet Union. Beyond analyzing the impact of the political, the project raises questions about the interrelations of animation, technology, and aesthetics. Although animation in these two nations was considerably influenced by American animation, Disney in particular, there remained characteristics that were unique to the cultural and political situations in Germany and the Soviet Union. Olga has already completed a large portion of the extensive archival research upon which her dissertation is founded, including the collection of primary source material in periodicals from the two decades, and untapped archival materials in German and Russian repositories. By analyzing German and Soviet animated films of the period, Olga aims to investigate the general tendencies, controversies, and deviations in the field of animation production during an important, but overlooked era in the history of this art form.