Advisers: Susan Jeffords, Ranjana Khanna
The dissertation facilitates intercultural communication in the post-Cold-War world between post-socialist East European cultures and the increasingly integrated First-Third World complex. The end of the Cold War and the transition from state socialism to global capitalism have profound relevance for epistemological paradigms of postmodernity and globalization. Yet, “transition studies” in the social sciences, which have produced extensive literature on the economic and political aspects of the East European transitions, have left unexplored crucial connections among the social, economic, and cultural spheres. The dissertation foregrounds such connections in two innovative ways: First, it translates discourses of feminist, postcolonial, and cultural studies into East European terms. These discourses have productively interrogated the sexual, racial, and class dimensions of nationalism and colonialism in the world outside of Eastern Europe, and have brought formerly neglected or powerless identities into focus. However, in the absence of adequate cultural translation, they have not been able to address the particular conditions of postsocialism. Second, the dissertation analyzes the ways in which cinematic and literary works have registered the sexualized and racialized experiences of the post-socialist transformation, which tend to escape the social scientific lens of examination. These analyses call attention to the libidinal and political processes of production and reception, and discuss these processes in terms of negotiated readings and analogical identifications.