New Literary Geography: Demarginalization of Contemporary Russophone Literature in Israel

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 4:15pm to 6:00pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, S153

The contemporary Russophone Israeli literature is no longer émigré, minor, or marginal. In the world where globalism and cultural neonativism converge, literature reveals new possibilities of expression. Russophone writers in Israel find a way to overwhelm both the traditional Jewish-Russian poetics and the ghetto mentality. The key to their artistic achievements is their deep emotional and intellectual involvement in the Israeli (and through it—the world) life and culture without detachment from the Israeli Russophone community, which they imagine not as a Russian diaspora or immigrant ghetto, but as an integral part of the global, decentralized, networking Russian and Jewish cultures. This unique and complex predicament has produced the works by such authors as Alexander Goldstein, Dina Rubina, Dennis Sobolev, Gali-Dana and Nekod Singer, Mikhail Yudson, Elizaveta Mikhailichenko and Yury Nesis, Alex Tarn, and many others.

Prof. Roman Katsman was born in the USSR and has lived in Israel since 1990. In 2000 he joined the faculty of the Department of Literature of the Jewish People in Bar-Ilan University. Katsman is an author of six books and numerous articles about Hebrew and Russian literatures, and Jewish-Russian and Russian-Israeli literature and thought. He has worked on the theoretical problems of mythopoesis, chaos, nonverbal communication, sincerity, alternative history, and humor. His most recent book, Nostalgia for a Foreign Land (Academic Studies Press, 2016), examines the Russian-language literature in Israel. Other major publication include Literature, History, Choice: The Principle of Alternative History in Literature (2013), At the Other End of Gesture. Anthropological Poetics of Gesture in Modern Hebrew Literature (2008) and The Time of Cruel Miracles: Mythopoesis in Dostoevsky and Agnon (2002).


Roman Katsman, Professor of the Department of Literature of the Jewish People, Bar-Ilan University
Moderator: Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies, Boston College; Director, Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry; Center Associate, Davis Center

Cosponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Seminar on Jews of Russia/Eastern Europe and Literature and Culture Seminar), Center for Jewish Studies, and supported by the Yanoff-Taylor Lecture and Publication Fund.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.