Yana Meerzon, Performing Nationalism: The Russian Case
All are welcome to Aesthetic Seminar
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Kasernen, Langelandsgade 139, 8000 Aarhus C. Building 1584, Door A, Room 112
When Russia started its unlawful invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many Russian citizens took to the streets to protest the actions of their government. The regime responded immediately: it shut down independent media, artistic projects, and companies, and it introduced administrative fines, criminal charges, and imprisonment up to 15 years as punishment for any Russian citizen who dared to doubt the regime and its military actions. The war has only intensified mechanisms of oppression and censorship that have come to define what sociologist, Lev Gudkov calls Russia’s new nationalism or “recurring totalitarianism” (2022).
In this presentation, I will discuss my current research project “Between Migration and Neo-Nationalism(s): Performing the European Nation - Playing a Foreigner”, which was funded by The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and my first forthcoming book publication related to this work. Following Homi Bhabha’s (1990) prompt on reading “nationalism” as a set of discursive and performative practices, my book Performing Nationalism: The Russian Case (Cambridge Elements in Theatre, Performance and the Political 2023) examines a range of performative strategies used by the Russian state to uphold its nationalist project. Simultaneously, it maps artistic strategies of resistance to the ideology of nationalism as employed by Russian theatre artists and companies. In my presentation, I will discuss such important practices of resistance to homogenizing practices of nationalism as restoring forgotten historical figures and events, feminist performance practices, strategies of decolonization and representation of racialized migrants on Russian stage.
Professor Yana Meerzon teaches for the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa. For the past two decades of her scholarly career, Dr. Meerzon has been studying theatrical representations of migration created by migrant artists in Europe and North America. With the rise of political populism, religious fundamentalism, and return of the idea of nation state, Dr. Meerzon turned to the questions of borders and politics of nation building, within which the current practices and discussions of global migration take place, the subject of this presentation.
Dr. Meerzon is the author of three books, with the latest volume Performance, Subjectivity, Cosmopolitanism published by Palgrave in August 2020. She co-edited nine collections of scholarly articles, most recently Palgrave Handbook on Theatre and Migration (2023), with Professor Stephen E. Wilmer (Trinity College, Dublin).