Being a Russianist in Trump’s America is a triggering exercise, rife with frustration and insecurity. This SEEB series contributes to an extensive and important conversation for our field
A funny thing happened to me while I was writing my book on conspiracy theory and contemporary Russia: my obscure little corner of Russian cultural studies suddenly threatened to become relevant.
The language and culture classroom can provide an ideal environment to develop not only language skills, but to acquire first-language discourse and communication skills to navigate the fraught waters of today’s negative post-factual conversations.
A Turkish friend of a friend of mine recently dreamt that she was playing guitar for the authoritarian leader of her country, President Recep Erdoğan, while directing his gaze toward some pretty flowers and urging him to listen and look. Her dream reminded me of a somewhat intrusive thought I had more than once this past year while teaching a class on Chekhov.
The last time I taught a Russian civilization and culture course, the curriculum took a largely Eurocentric approach to Russian literary and cultural history. Except Princess Olga, Elizabeth, and Catherine II, there were few women discussed in the course and little discussion of gender, race, ethnicity, and social class in Russia’s artistic, literary, and cultural history. In light of recent events, I have decided that I can no longer continue to teach this course without devoting more time to these topics.