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Throwback Thursday: Soviet Era Propaganda Poster Warning against the Dangers of Illiteracy and Blindness

The concept of blindness is often used—even today– as ametaphor for ignorance or stupidity. In our object this week, a Sovietera propaganda poster takes advantage of negative stereotypes to warn againstthe dangers of illiteracy. The State Press of Petrograd in Russiasilk-screened the original poster in 1923. The poster shows a bearded man in the brightred garb of a traditional Russian peasant wears a blindfold, and with his handsthrust out before him, walks straight off a dangerous cliff. The Russiancaption below reads “An illiterate man is like a blind man.” But theposter takes this warning a bit farther, giving a glimpse into the expectationsthe Communists had for their citizens with vision loss, “Failure and misfortunelie in wait for him on all sides.” As part of their attempts totransform an agrarian country into an industrial one, the Soviets required alltheir citizens to be able to read and write. These posters and otherslike them would have been plastered all over the place, in the processreinforcing one of the most powerful stereotypes about people who are blind,that they are doomed to failure. Our example is a reproduction, but youcan learn more about Russian literacy propaganda posters here.

Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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