11 Feb 2009 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH 17 Mill Lane


Alexander Etkind (University of Cambridge)
Catriona Kelly (University of Oxford)  


Alexander Etkind

In the post-Soviet economics of memory, where the losses are massive and the monuments in short supply, the dead return as the undead. Mourning over real losses merges with an anticipation of new and imagined ones. It is not that fear is connected to memory in this ghostly amalgam; they become literally the same experience. Two processes concur on this stage, the defamiliarization of the past and the return of the repressed. Discussing examples from monuments, novels, and films, I will demonstrate the cultural logic of post-Soviet melancholia.


Catriona Kelly

I am currently working on a study of cultural memory in St Petersburg in the late Soviet and post Soviet era, including both the official institutions of memory (street names, monuments, museums, 'heritage'), and private memories and memory practices. This paper is devoted to the second type of memory, and it takes issue with the widespread use of the term 'nostalgia' to define the relationship in post-Soviet Russia with the Soviet past. It argues that the memory practices and symbolic representations involved are in fact more diverse than the catch-all term 'nostalgia' would suggest. There is an important trend to self-justification/apologetics as well as sentimentalisation of the past; memories are nuanced in terms of personal experience (most particularly, by generation) and in terms of the spaces in which they are acted out; and rhetorical strategies of remembrance may also vary.   



This event is part of the Contemporary Russian Culture Studies Group Seminar series.

Meetings are held on alternate Wednesdays during term-time, 5pm to 7.00pm at CRASSH.

All welcome.  No registration required.

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