Presentations (Communicative Events)

Situating America’s Russian-speaking Refugees and Immigrants: Transnational and National Disciplinary Contexts

Manchester, Laurie

Manchester will discuss how diaspora theory applies to the Russian diaspora. Whereas general histories of Global diaspora have ignored the first, and arguably the most significant (in terms of its influence) of the Russian diaspora waves, scholars and the media in post-Soviet Russia have been preoccupied with this previously taboo subject. First wavers are often held up as role models of pre-revolutionary “Russianness” for post-Soviet Russians struggling to repudiate the Soviet past, and the Russian government has aggressively sought the repatriation of émigré archives. In keeping with contemporary Russian nationalism, the virtual explosion in publications and documentaries about First Wavers in post-Soviet Russia has focused on emphasizing their achievements not only to “Russian Abroad” but to the host countries where they lived, including the United States. While the Russian and Soviet empires were, unlike their Western rivals, contiguous, “Russia Abroad” is beginning to serve an odd function for a mainly political diaspora: as a testimony to Russia’s presence and influence abroad as a would-be colonial power.

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Harriman Institute
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September 20, 2013