DepositScripting the Revolution: Regicide in Russia

Soviet accounts written in the decade after the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian imperial family in July 1918 struck an uneasy balance between the impetus to enshrine the regicide as a great moment in the Bolshevik revolution and to dismiss it as the routine shooting of bandits. By 1928, the regicide had largely vanished from Soviet narratives of the revolution; it regained importance only on the eve of the Soviet Union’s collapse.

DepositEyes Be Closed: Franz Marc’s Liegender Hund im Schnee

This paper is an intensely-focused study of Expressionist painter Franz Marc’s 1911 “Liegender Hund im Schnee” (Dog Lying in the Snow), a portrait of Marc’s dog, Russi. The purpose of this analysis is to show Marc’s careful description of the dog, in both his writings and the titles of other paintings of Russi, to depict the challenging subjects not only of animal sentiency but of the subconscious world of this particular dog. Comparisons are drawn between Marc’s ensouled animal and inspiration he drew from both Paul Gauguin and Théodore Géricault. Marc ideas about the rediscovery of utopia are connected to notions of innocence and the unspoiled past. Key developments in Marc’s biography are connected to the emergence of Russi as a central figure in the artist’s life and work.

DepositWritten Exercises: Ancestral Magic and Emergent Intellectuals in Mia Couto, Lhoussain Azergui and Dorota Masłowska

The article consists in a comparative reading of three novels: Um rio chamado tempo by Mia Couto, Le pain des corbeaux by Lhoussain Azergui and Paw królowej by Dorota Masłowska. In spite of the difference of the historical circumstances of Mozambique, Morocco and Poland, these three books meet at an intersecting point: the emergence of an intelligentsia that uses literacy and writing as an instrument to deconstruct the post-colonial concept of nation and to operate a trans-colonial renegotiation of identity. By the notion of trans-colonial, I understand the opposition against new kinds of symbolic violence that emerged after the end of the colonial period; here this new form of oppression is related to the concept of national unity – an artificial construct that leaves no place for a dualism or pluralism of cultural reality (two shores of the Zambezi river, Arab and Berber dualism in Morocco, “small homelands” in Poland). The young heroes of the novels grasp the pen in order to break through the falseness or the taboos created by the fathers, establishing, at the same time, the relation of solidarity with the world of the grandfathers. The act of writing becomes an actualization of the ancestral universe of magic. The settlement of accounts with the parental generation concerns the vision of nation built upon the resistance against the colonizer (it also refers to the Polish cultural formation, based on the tradition of uprisings and resistance against the Russians).

DepositThe City Through a Glass, Darkly: Use of the Gothic in Early Russian Realism

This article examines works by Grigorovich, Dal′, Grebenka, Nekrasov, and Dostoevskii from the period 1845–49, looking at the way these early realists represented St Petersburg. Broadly, they sought to depict life with verisimilitude and experimented with new methods to achieve this aim, adapting earlier literary models such as the physiological sketch and the gothic. Despite differing artistic styles, these writers used the gothic in surprisingly similar ways. The article argues that realism accommodated the gothic as a tool to underscore social concerns surrounding urban poverty as well as build up narrative force in otherwise descriptive passages.

DepositReforging Roma into New Soviet Gypsies

Guest: Brigid O’Keeffe is an Associate Professor of History at Brooklyn College where she specializes in late imperial Russian and Soviet history. Her research interests include internationalism, Esperanto, selfhood, ethnicity, citizenship and everyday Soviet life. She’s the author of New Soviet Gypsies: Nationality, Performance, and Selfhood in the Early Soviet Union published by University of Toronto Press.

DepositLanguage and Subjectivity: Theories of Formation.

The purpose of this graduate course is to examine key texts of the twentieth century that established the fundamental connection between language structures and practices on the one hand, and the formation of selfhood and subjectivity, on the other. In particular, the course will focus on theories that emphasize the role of formal elements in producing meaningful discursive and social effects. Works of Russian formalists and French (post)-structuralists will be discussed in connection with psychoanalytic and anthropological theories of formation.

Deposit“Let the Demon in: Death and Guilt in The Master of Petersburg.”

Unlike his earlier novels, J.M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg, has not received the attention that it deserves from the critics. The novel, which is set in Russia not only draws on real aspects of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s life but also on certain events in the Russian author’s novels, specifically The Devils. Coetzee’s Dostoevsky is an aging author who is irked by the failure of his mental and physical faculties. His diminishing capabilities force him to continuously question the diabolic nature of the writing process. In this paper, I would like to discuss the tensions that form the basis of this novel, namely the old vis-à-vis the young portrayed by the parent and child relationship, and the intensifying nature of evil, reflected by actions, which invite the demon/muse in, a concept, which began with Stavorgin’s confession in The Devils.