Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

01 Nov 2001, 9:50 a.m.

I attended Professor Reginald Zelnik's office hours earlier this semester.…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I attended Professor Reginald Zelnik's office hours earlier this semester. He teaches Imperial Russian History -- and quite well, too, if I may add. I waited outside as he talked with another student. A woman came by and waited with me. She said that she was a history graduate student and that he was her advisor.

Me: "So, what do you study? What's your topic of interest?"
Her: "I study the Soviet circus."
Me: "The circus?"
Her: "Yeah. You know. The circus. Acrobats, three rings, trapeezes."
Me: "Oh. I thought maybe 'the circus' was some Soviet purge I didn't know about."
Her: [laugh] "Oh, we in history don't do political history anymore. It's all cultural now."