Past the “-Post”: Theorizing the Post-Post-Soviet via (New) Media and Popular Culture
Two-Day Conference, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
11-12 June 2015
Questions regarding time and temporality have occupied a central position in relation to both lived experiences and academic explorations of Soviet and post-Soviet spaces – indeed, the very addition of the prefix, the “post-” suggests the indispensability of the temporal when seeking to illuminate the sociocultural/sociopolitical. Scholars from diverse disciplinary locations (including Epstein, Yurchak, Boym, and Oushakine, inter alia) have shown the myriad ways that, for example, memory, nostalgia, and/or desire have been implicated in creations of a pre-Revolutionary past or a utopian Soviet future, such constructions being instrumental in the formations of identities, cultural narratives, or localities. In regards to this last, moreover, some (Clowes; Dobrenko and Naiman) have called for attention to dynamics of spatiality, in addition to those of temporality, in relation to the enterprise of “mapping” the cultural terrain of the [post-] Soviet.
And yet the cultural-spatiotemporal location which engendered the “post-” has altered radically over the past two-plus decades, the ensuing landscape often marked by an array of disparate events and phenomena related to the changes in media and popular culture: Tweets circulating among and emanating from the protesters at Euromaidan or in Moscow; Pussy Riot’s various actions posted to YouTube, and the “media tour” of Tolokonnikova and Alekhina upon release from prison; Russian legislation banning advertising on pay-television channels, and its effect on non-state-owned entities such as Telekanal Dozhd; US/EU popular musics/videos/films ubiquitous on radio stations, television, and the internet, and now widely available via numerous download sites or torrents; the broad popularity of Russian detektivy by authors such as Akunin and Marinina, and their wide availability, as with other media, online; Russia’s anti-“gay propaganda” law, and the appearance of internet-based support group for LGBT children/teens, Deti 404; and numerous others. Our intent in this conference, however, is not to analyze such phenomena in a cultural context, but to foreground the cultural context itself– the post-post – via the phenomena. Understanding, of course, the need for historicizing cultural practice and product, our guiding question is: how can we, via media and popular culture, theorize geopolitical and geocultural locations that can no longer be adequately defined by recourse to a predecessor? What is the successor to the “post-Soviet”?
Call for Papers
We seek submissions from scholars working in diverse fields (media studies, anthropology, sociology, musicology, film/television studies, political science, literary studies/comparative literature, cultural studies, among others), as our intent is to facilitate a dialogue that is as interdisciplinary as possible. Proposals for individual papers (20 minutes) or panels are welcome. Please send abstracts of 350-400 words (450-550 words for panels), with name(s), title(s), and academic affiliation(s) (if applicable) and a very brief biographical summary.
Please send abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 1 February 2015. You may address any inquiries to the same email address.
Dr. Yngvar B. Steinholt, Associate Professor, TromsøUniversity, Institute of Culture and Literature, Norway
Dr. Steinholt is co-author of Punk in Russia: Cultural Mutation from the “Useless” to the “Moronic” (Routledge 2014), and has published extensively on popular music in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia. His current research interests include contemporary Russian art (and) activism, noise studies, and sound in literature.
Assistant Professor, Departments of Music and Media Studies, University of Amsterdam
Assistant Professor, Departments of East European Studies and Media Studies, University of Amsterdam