International Counterculture Archive

Gelman Library of The George Washington University

Mark Yoffe, Ph.D., Slavic Languages subject specialist, curator for the Archive


PURPOSE: The Archive's goal is the collection and study of multimedia materials produced by, or dealing with, countercultural groups and movements of different countries. The Archive serves as a depositary for such a collection and provides assistance, expertise, necessary networking to scholars from different fields involved in the study of countercultural movements. The Archive is an interdisciplinary body. In addition to acquisition and processing of the materials, the Archive provides bibliographic description of the collection, reference support and serves as a link for scholars and collectors working in the field.

STATEMENT: The Archive is a nonpolitical nonpartisan entity. Its collection policy is dictated strictly by the unbiased principles of academic inquiry, which presumes that the Archive will collect ALL materials pertaining to counterculture, without regard to the political belief, affiliations and philosophy of issuing bodies or individuals responsible for the materials content.

COUNTERCULTURE: We define as counterculture groups and movements existing within any modern society and in any country which find themselves in opposition to governing and accepted mainstream ideology, values and the approved and sanctioned forms of self expression. Counterculture is a culture of opposition and minorities. It can be highly political and/or purely artistic, but it inevitably finds itself in opposition to the mainstream political thinking, aesthetical perceptions, styles, and forms and ways of self expression.

WHY?: Counterculture is very indicative of major trends in the politics, culture and ideology of a country. Counterculture is a breeding ground of bold, original, radical and lunatic political thinking, aesthetical innovation and ideological and philosophical beliefs. Counterculture is a fruitful soil for the development of new and innovative artistic and stylistic trends, fashions, cults, and fads. It is an integral part of the political and cultural life of any country. Its study is necessary for a deeper understanding of the given country's history, culture, and national or regional psychology.

GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE OF THE COLLECTION: Though the Archive's collection policy is truly global in it's scope in the beginning, it will center its activity upon the areas where members of the Archive's staff and its affiliates have most expetise. During this initial period Archive's collecting activities centers on two distinct areas:

1. Russia, CIS countries, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. 2. Local Washington, D.C. metropolitant area.

MEDIA: The collection is multimedia in nature:

1. Printed and handwritten materials: magazines, almanacs, "fanzines", newsletters, manuscripts, books, posters, fliers, liflets and other forms of printed ephemera.

2. Audio: Self-produced, small label etc. recordings of music, poetry, verbal art, speeches, lectures, performances etc.

3. Video recordings: self-produced, small label, or homemade videos pertaining to the subject.

4. Film: self-produced, small label, or homemade films pertaining to the subject.

5. Photo archives: documenting countercultural activities.

6. Special materials: all sorts of ephemera and works of plastic arts.


Though the collection has an emphasis on contemporary materials it also collects materials pertaining to the history of countercultural groups and movements in target geographical areas.

The collection covers: 1. Political movements: including right and left fringe, nationalism, labor, terrorism, lobbying bodies.

2. Bohemian movements: literary and artistic groups and movements.

3. Music movements and performance art: jazz, folk, rock'n'roll, avant garde.

4. Youth movements: mods, hippies, punk, post/punk/new wave, hippie revivalism, cyber-punk and others.

5. Drug subculture.

6. Feminism.

7. Gay subculture.

8. Green and "back to nature" movements.

9. Neo pagan movements.

10. Indigenous group movements.

To Counterculture Page and Counterculture links:
To Russian Rock Page and Russian Rock links:

Our Archive is actively seeking to establish contacts with other institutional and private collections of materials pertaining to Counterculture. We are looking to establish working relations with curators, private collectors and enthusiasts of Counterculture related ephemera.

Our Archive invites participation of experts in the field and is open for submission of materials for deposit and donations.

With ideas, suggestions, contributions and donations please contact Archive's curator Mark Yoffe.

Mark Yoffe: has a doctorate in Russian Studies from University of Michigan and is a specialist in Soviet/Russian youth counterculture and rock music. He is a Slavic Languages subject specialist at The Gelman Library of The George Washington University and a curator for the Archive. As a curator he is responsible for collection and processing of archival materials.

As a Slavic Languages subject specialist he is responsible for collection development and bibliographic research.

Russian and East European Links: