Leah Feldman - "On the Threshold of Eurasia" - Na'ama Rokem

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Leah Feldman

Leah Feldman will be discussing her book, On the Threshold of Eurasia: Revolutionary Poetics in the Caucasus. She will be joined in conversation by Na'ama Rokem. A Q&A and book signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Note that your RSVP is requested, but not required).

About the book: 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.

About the author: 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 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.

About the interlocutor: Na'ama Rokem is Associate Professor in the Departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Comparative Literature, and director of the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Prosaic Conditions: Heinrich Heine and the Spaces of Zionist Literature, as well as articles and essays about Franz Kafka's Zionism, Paul Celan's multilingualism, and Hannah Arendt's Yiddish op-ed writing, among other topics.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637