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Heterotopia in Contemporary Russian Fiction

Anisimova, Irina (2015) Heterotopia in Contemporary Russian Fiction. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines Russian culture of the twenty-first century by analyzing fiction and film with speculative elements. Each chapter focuses on the core concerns of a particular author: Pelevin’s preoccupation with neocolonialism and empire, Slavnikova’s contrast between dystopian history and “utopian” death, Sorokin’s interest in historical trauma and the inner workings of terror, and Fedorchenko and Osokin’s eccentric utopian projects. The dissertation helps to understand contemporary culture, since speculative fiction’s imagined realities and envisioned futures are closely connected with sociocultural tendencies. The sustained investigation of the 2000s is merited by the fact that “the Zeroes,” as the decade is known in Russia, is characterized by significant cultural shifts. Compared to the 1990s, the 2000s can be seen in terms of a gradual turn towards much more conservative notions of identity that are often expressed through changing interpretations of Russian and Soviet history, as well as a reevaluation of Russia’s geopolitical role—topics that are central in both political discourses and cultural imaginary. A number of works in contemporary Russian fiction and film creatively reimagine geographic space and history. This fiction and film oscillate between utopian and dystopian modalities and combine ambiguous utopias/dystopias with supernatural elements. While sharing certain features with more traditional genres, these works fall outside of such traditional genre designations as utopias/dystopias and magical realism. To account for this genre hybridity, my project posits Michel Foucault’s notion of “heterotopia” as a critical lens for my analysis of this fiction. I understand heterotopia as a textual strategy in fiction and film that includes utopian/dystopian and fantastic elements, and that, through unusual temporal and spatial structures, interrogate dominant discourses and identity formations. Because of its ability to create a number of possible worlds, this textual strategy allows contemporary authors to both contest and engage with dominant cultural practices and discourses.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Committee MemberBirnbaum, Daviddjbpitt@pitt.eduDJBPITT
Committee MemberPadunov, Vladimirpadunov@pitt.eduPADUNOV
Committee MemberLeiderman,
Date: 16 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 November 2014
Approval Date: 16 June 2015
Submission Date: 9 April 2015
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 237
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contemporary Russian literature, Contemporary Russian film, Heterotopia
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2015 12:52
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2020 05:15


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