1st Annual CLST Fellowship Showcase 5:00-6:45 Posvar 4130: REFRACTED RUSSIAN SPACE: Devices of Heterotopias & Defragmentation

December 4, 2013 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm

This year's two CLST fellowship recipients, Irina Anisimova and Elise Thorsen, will present their work at a showcase chaired by Nancy Condee, with comments by John Lyon and Mohammed Bamyeh.  CLST Director Ron Zboray hosts the event.

REFRACTED RUSSIAN SPACE: Devices of Heterotopias & Defragmentation

INTRODUCTION: Ronald J Zboray, Communication and Director of the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies
CHAIR: Nancy Condee, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Director of Global Studies
Irina Anisimova, “Heterotopia in Contemporary Russian Fiction” 
Precis:  My current research connects genre studies with examination of contemporary representations of historical trauma, imagined communities, and the tension between collective identity and imperial aspirations.  I address a particular trend in contemporary Russian culture, placing it into a larger social context.  In contemporary Russian literature and film, a significant number of works combine utopian/dystopian and supernatural elements and do not fit the traditional binary of utopia/dystopia.  For my analysis of this trend, I propose the concept of “heterotopia” that was developed by Michel Foucault. The use of heterotopia as a provisional genre allows me to analyze works by thecontemporary authors that are characterizedby a creative approach to the representations of time and space.  I argue that, in contemporary Russian fiction and film, the creation of heterotopias becomes a strategy to reimagine geographical space, collective identity, and history—central preoccupations of contemporary Russian culture. 
Elise Thorsen, “Failure to Integrate: Soviet Territory and the Deformed Subject in Mayakovsky’s Odic Mode”
Precis: This paper is part of a broader critical description of the aesthetics of representing a multiethnic and socio-economically-variegated Soviet political space in the period between the Civil War and World War II. A central problematic is the representation of an intact wholeness that hasboth survived the Revolution and been transformed by it, in ideology and internal organization. I argue that Vladimir Maiakovskii’s Soviet work drawsupon structures deriving from the Russian ceremonial ode as a means of inscribing an aesthetic relationship between political space, Bolshevik or proletarian power, and the individual citizen. The contingency and deformation of Maiakovskii’s lyric bodies and the nuances of coercion and formlessness that color his representations of space suggest that his attempts at integration are incomplete, opening up questions about the transformation of the odic mode in the nineteenth century and the actual possibility of conclusively closing the interwar problematic of intactness and ideology.
COMMENTS: John Lyon, Chair of the German Department
Mohammed Bamyeh, Sociology and 2013-2014 CLST Fellowship Committee Member
Please contact CLST Program Administrator Karen Lillis by email if you intend to attend the event orif you have any questions about it.

Location and Address

4130 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA 15260