Northwestern Events Calendar


Leah Feldman (Comp Lit, U Chicago), On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucuses

When: Friday, January 25, 2019
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: University Hall, Hagstrum Room, #201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Sarah Peters   (847) 491-3864

Group: Comparative Literary Studies

Category: Academic


Leah Feldman discusses her new book On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucuses

On the Threshold of Eurasia explores the idea of the Russian and Soviet "East" as a political, aesthetic, and scientific system of ideas that emerged through a series of intertextual encounters produced by Russians and Turkic Muslims on the imperial periphery amidst the revolutionary transition from 1905 to 1929. Identifying the role of Russian and Soviet Orientalism in shaping the formation of a specifically Eurasian imaginary, Leah Feldman examines connections between avant-garde literary works; Orientalist historical, geographic and linguistic texts; and political essays written by Russian and Azeri Turkic Muslim writers and thinkers. Tracing these engagements and interactions between Russia and the Caucasus, Feldman offers an alternative vision of empire, modernity, and anti-imperialism from the vantage point not of the metropole but from the cosmopolitan centers at the edges of the Russian and later Soviet empires. In this way, On the Threshold of Eurasia illustrates the pivotal impact that the Caucasus (and the Soviet periphery more broadly) had—through the founding of an avant-garde poetics animated by Russian and Arabo-Persian precursors, Islamic metaphysics, and Marxist-Leninist theories of language —on the monumental aesthetic and political shifts of the early twentieth century.

Leah Feldman is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. Her research explores the poetics and the politics of global literary and cultural entanglements, focusing on critical approaches to translation theory, semiotics, Marxist aesthetics and postcolonial theory, which traverse the Caucasus and Central Asia, and her current research interests include affect in late-Soviet film and theatre from Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as the rise of the New Right in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Her publications have appeared in Boundary 2 and Slavic Review.

Winter talk series, “Thresholds of the European Avant-Garde," sponsored by the Global Avant-Garde and Modernist Studies (GAMS) cluster and by the Program in Comparative Literature


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