Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Literature, Yale University
Imagining Socialist Internationalism in the Age of Three Worlds

The project will identify the three international leftist writers' formations during that period and in each case focus on two prominent and representative members of that formation: the Soviet novelist llya Ehrenburg and his American counterpart Howard Fast, who participated in the attempt to revive the Popular-Front alliance between Soviet and First-World artists at the 194'8 Stalingrad International Writers' Congress; the Soviet guitar poet Vladimir Vysotsky and the German Wolf Biermann, both emblematic figures for the Second-World "socialism with a human face" in the 1960s, who found it increasingly difficult to sustain their internationalist engagement in the '70s; and finally, the Kyrgyz writer Chinghiz Aitmatov and the Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiongo, whose joint stardom at the 1973 Afro-Asian conference in Alma-Ata marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet cultural alliance with the Third World. After situating the pair of writers in the cultural context of their moment, each part of this project will identify the aesthetic forms of internationalism as represented in their work of that period. The reception of these texts will be then reconstructed, providing us not merely with a snapshot of the readers' understanding of internationalism at the time, but also with clues as to how that literature shaped its audience's understanding of socialist internationalism. In the process of recovering the now forgotten web of exchanges and solidarities that once constituted socialist internationalism, this project will also identify many of its artifacts in contemporary transnational culture.