CASI Literature Week: “Russophone Literature: Transnational Writing in the

CASI Literature Week: “Russophone Literature: Transnational Writing in the "Wide Russian World"

December 4, 2017

Literature Week is a part of CASI’s Workshop on Literature and History. Supported by a generous contribution from Matthew Nimetz, the aim of the workshop is to create a community of junior scholars and advanced graduate students committed to studying literature and to applying literary tools and methodologies to the study of literary art in the Central Asian past.

SPEAKER: Naomi Caffee, University of Arizona

Abstract: What are the limits of Russian literature? What factors--language proficiency, citizenship, geographic location, family heritage--qualify someone as "Russian" or "not Russian?" Entering into dialogue with research in Francophone and Sinophone Studies, this talk introduces the transnational framework of “Russophonia” in order to analyze literature produced from within a variety of geopolitical, cultural, sociolinguistic, virtual, and subjective spaces shaped by the Russian language. I will include an analysis of works by writers from Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asia, who employ the Russian language with varying degrees of dissociation from an ethnic or national Russian identity. I situate Russophone writers and culture workers at the nexus of identity formation on local, national, and global levels, while also highlighting the complex, multidiscursive elements involved in constructing Russian-ness and “Russian worlds."

Bio: Naomi Caffee is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies at the University of Arizona. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include postcolonial approaches to Russian and Central Asian literatures, global and transnational studies, indigenous literatures, ecocriticism, second language acquisition, and literary translation. 


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