Please join me at the upcoming ASEEES Convetion at Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. I participate in two panels and one roundtable.

The first panel Western Other in the Late Soviet Culture takes place this Thursday, November 30, at 1:30-2:45 pm at Salon I (5th floor). I serve as a discussant on this panel.

The panel is devoted to how the construct of the Western Other functioned in the late Soviet culture and ideology. The presentations are made on a variety of materials: photographs, literature, music and travel writings. The presented cases also demonstrate a different degree of censorship control: from official sources to sources reflecting the activities of underground organizations and subcultures. We hope to discuss what goals the image of the Western Other served in late Soviet culture and propaganda, what role it played in cultural transfer, how the image of the West reflected the intra-Soviet agenda.


  • Ekaterina Lapina-Kratasyuk, L’Università degli Studi della Tuscia, “Foreign as Extraterrestrial: Alien Persons and ‘Zones’ in the Strugatsky Brothers’ Books”
  • Alexey Kotelvas, University of Florida, “Soviet and Western Fashion in Travelogues of the Early Thaw”
  • Irina Veselova, Independent Researcher, “Western Rock Musicians in the Cultural Imagination of Late Soviet Youngsters, 1975-1985”

I also participate in the rountable Centering Indigeneity in Russian Studies II: Transdisciplinary Possibilities of Critical Indigenous Theory that takes place this Thursday, November 30, at 3:00-4:45 pm at Room 406 (4th floor).

In their famous 2012 paper, Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang proclaimed, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” This is to say, the goal of decolonization is for land to be returned back to Indigenous peoples, and not for some nebulous cause to “diversify” fields. However, decolonization is not the only framework of critical theoretical scholarship developed by Indigenous scholar-activists. The field of critical Indigenous studies has brought into question the many assumptions that settler-colonials take to be facts, such as the disregarding of Indigenous knowledge as a valid way of knowing. This roundtable seeks to bring critical Indigenous theory into conversation with the field of Russian studies and discuss transdisciplinary possibilities in our field. With the theme of ASEEES 2023 being “Decolonization,” this roundtable asks and attempts to nuance the questions: what can Indigenous voices teach us about a future beyond (settler-)colonialism in the Slavic/Russian context? How are the mechanisms and logic of colonialism continually perpetuated in Slavic/Russian studies? And, what does it mean to “decolonize” Russian/Slavic studies through Indigenous perspectives? This roundtable will seek to use these questions as a guiding point to explore the potential to create a transdisciplinary approach that moves beyond our current Russia-centric hegemonic model of Russian studies.


Chair: Hilah Kohen, University of Pennsylvania

Finally, the panel that I organized, Literature, Art, and Education across Borders: Soviet-Eastern European Cultural Exchanges during the Cold War, takes place this Saturday, December 2, at 4:00-5:45 pm at Room 406 (4th floor).

When scholars talk about cultural exchanges during the Cold War more often than not their attention is drawn to collaborative projects with the Global South. However, Eastern European countries were also highly impacted by the politics of the Cold War. This interdisciplinary panel examines cultural exchanges between the Soviet Union and selected countries of Eastern Europe, i.e., the German Democratic Republic, Poland, and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. How did the Cold War influence the print culture of these countries? What was the impact of the Soviet initiatives to reform education in the Eastern Bloc? To what degree did socialist art exhibitions facilitate collaboration between artists of various backgrounds? How successful were Soviet cultural initiatives in Eastern Europe and how scholars can measure this success? This panel will try to answer these questions from the perspectives of different disciplines including literary studies, art history, and international relations.


  • Andrei Kostin, University of Grenoble-Alpes, “Could One Color Kremlin in Rainbow or Polka Dots?: Decolonizing Moscow Interactive Children’s Books of the 1950s-1960s”
  • Natalia Tsvetkova, Saint Petersburg State University, “Professors and the Hidden Sabotage against Sovietization at the Universities of East Germany during the Cold War: What We Know from Soviet Advisors’ Reports”
  • Sven Spieker, University of California Santa Barbara, “Socialist Exhibition Culture: International Art Exhibitions in the Socialist World (1950-1990)”
  • Olga Nechaeva, University of Pennsylvania, “‘Zwischen Moskau und Leipzig’: Exchange Programs between the Gorky Literary Institute and the Becher Literary Institute in the 1970s-1980s”

Discussant: Łukasz Stanek, Univerisity of Michigan

Chair: Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania

Hope to see you there!