I am an Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute of the University of Toronto, where I am working on my postdoctoral project on contemporary Russian queer theater and dramatic writing.
My broader work strives to capture and elucidate sites, experiences, and articulations of “marginality” in Russian cultural imagination, especially in literature and the arts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A meeting point of hegemonic and alternative discourses, “marginality” fascinates me as a social, political, and cultural construct due to its potential to reveal structures of power, control, and difference that have not only to do with political oppression, but also with imaginativeness and agency (which are far less known in connection to (neo)authoritarian settings like the one of contemporary Russia that informs my research). In my book-length postdoctoral project, I explore these questions through the lenses of Slavic studies, queer studies, and performance studies by looking at representations of queerness in contemporary Russian theater.
Alongside the work on my second book, I am finalizing the manuscript of my dissertation that analyzes Russian prose and drama of the 1950s–1980s as a laboratory for the ideas of privacy, which was increasingly sought in a society disillusioned by Communist doctrine and thus progressively alienated from active participation in the public sphere. By looking at three strands of discourse (the liberal, represented by Novyi Mir; the conservative, represented by Oktiabr’, and the unofficial, represented by the texts published in samizdat or abroad), I uncover a versatile panorama of literary expressions of privacy that range from well-familiar images of domesticity of private apartments to the less explored spatial, emotional, and temporal sites of disidentification. I also demonstrate that apart from being imagined within the text, privacy was simultaneously a tool to frame the narrative, and in these two functions may be seen as a therapeutic process of liberation from the constraints of socialist realism that the writers practiced not only in the underground literature, but also on the pages of officially published literary works.