Professor Marina Frolova-Walker (University of Cambridge)
This event will take place via Zoom>
Revolution, Trauma, and a Transition to Nowhere Thoughts on Russian Music and Culture post-1991
In the studies of post-Soviet space the term “transition to democracy”, so prevalent in the 1990s, has met an early demise. The optimistic narrative of transition first became impatient with the slowness and hesitancy of the process, then suffered from the uncertainty of the moving or even vanishing target, and was finally abandoned by scholars as it became clear that the post-Soviet nation-states were taking shape in some yet unprecedented forms that required unbiased analysis.
The place of optimistic teleologies has been taken by hindsight-driven narratives portraying the collapse of the Soviet Union as a traumatogenic event and the culture of the succeeding period as trapped in the state of the ‘post-’. In this paper I will take post-socialist theories of cultural trauma as my starting point and test them against a number of case studies, both musical and more broadly cultural. I will then consider the double-edged nature of the “post-traumatic” narrative which can be utilised by both the supporters and opponents of the current political order in Russia, and the difficulties this creates for Western observers.