Postcolonial Post-Soviet: The USSR’s influence on cultural and literary production conference seminar

Eleanor Rambo's picture
Call for Papers
September 30, 2021
North Carolina, United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Literature, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

This seminar invites 250-350 word abstracts for papers that will be circulated in February 2022, prior to the 53rd Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) convention. During the seminar itself, session participants will briefly present their work before participating in a discussion with other panelists. Proposed papers should situate Soviet literature and/or other cultural products within a postcolonial context, or explain how postcolonial theory must be modified when applied in post-Soviet spaces. The NeMLA convention will be held March 10-13, 2022 in Baltimore, MD, and abstracts will be accepted through September 30, 2021. More information here.

As David Chioni Moore pointed out twenty years ago, literary and cultural critics often fail to consider the USSR within the context of postcolonial theory, though the country’s effect on surrounding regions and migration follows many of the same patterns as the imperial powers of Western Europe. Postcolonial scholars, including Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, have increasingly discussed post-Soviet spaces in the last two decades, but more extensive research on the media, literature, and art from these (potentially) postcolonial spaces is necessary in order to understand the USSR’s lasting impact on its former territory.

Is there any continuity between the influence of the Russian Empire—another imperial power rarely discussed in postcolonial theory—and the USSR’s later control of culture and media? What were the literary results of centralized Soviet political power? Did citizens in far-flung areas of the USSR understand themselves as colonial subjects, or as something entirely different? This seminar aims to situate Soviet literature and other cultural products within a postcolonial context, or to explain how postcolonial theory must be modified when applied in post-Soviet contexts. Abstract submissions on a broad range of cultural products are encouraged. Papers using non-Russophone material are welcome, although circulated papers and discussion will be in English. Please submit abstracts through the NeMLA website.

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