This essay explores the death of the seventeen-year-old Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, the first woman during World War II to be named a Hero of the Soviet Union, as one of the foundational narratives of Soviet necropedagogy. Far from claiming the Soviet case study as historically singular or singularly illuminating, I am concerned here with producing an account of necropedagogy that, in foregrounding structures of affect, makes a case for the necropedagogical project not being reducible to ideology, not functioning as merely another instance of the instrumentalization of the mythologized past. I argue that it is essential to deepen and expand our understanding of how necropedagogy might operate in historical circumstances, in which death becomes productive not only of particular kinds of subjectivities but of citizenship itself.

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