RUCARR seminar on February 14
Dr. Mikhail Suslov: Fantasy and Politics in Contemporary Russian Science Fiction
When: February 14, 13.15
Where: Niagara Building, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Room: NIC:1029 (for external participants, please come to the reception at 13.00)
This talk inquires into the ways in which utopian narratives interact with political discourses and facilitate identity-making in post-Soviet Russia. The paper brings together various academic perspectives, including literature studies, cultural studies, and studies of ideologies and politics in order to comprehensively analyze the syncretic genre of science fiction. Works of science fiction condense political myths, metaphors, concepts and emotions, thereby giving us a better understanding of Russian political culture. I argue that the study of sociopolitical science fiction and utopias exposes the ideational tracks on which Russian society in Putin’s third presidency glided smoothly into the annexation of Crimea, the war in Donbas, and confrontation with the West. At the same time, post-Soviet science fiction addresses such issues of international pertinence as the rise of nationalism, right-wing populism and imperial revanchism and attempts to strike a balance between modernization and cultural authenticity.
Mikhail Suslov is Assistant Professor of Russian History and Politics at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on Russian intellectual history, conservative, right-wing and religiously-motivated political ideas, geopolitical ideologies and socio-political utopias. His most recent papers dealing with (geo)political imagination include “The “Russian World” Concept: ‘Spheres of influence’ in the post-Soviet geopolitical ideology,” Geopolitics 23, no. 2 (2018) and “The Production of ‘Novorossiya’: A Territorial Brand in Public Debates,” Europe-Asia Studies 69, no. 2 (2017). Recently he edited Digital Orthodoxy in the Post- Soviet World: The Russian Orthodox Church and Web 2.0 (Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag, 2016) and co- edited (with Mark Bassin) Eurasia 2.0: Post-Soviet Geopolitics in the Age of New Media (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016).