Theses (Germanic and Slavic Studies)

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    Memory, Politics, and Place: Revitalizing Indigeneity and Unsettling Colonial Narratives with Reflections from Holocaust Memorial Culture
    (2024) Auchterlonie, Anthony R.; Thorson, Helga; Newman, Carey
    Following the Government of Canada’s 2008 apology to victims and survivors of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system and in combination with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the subject of Indigenous peoples and their place in Canada has been forced to the forefront of Canadian consciousness. Over a decade later, multiple reports commissioned by successive governments have pointed to systemic violence against Indigenous peoples amounting to genocide. Accepting the conclusions of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NIMMIWG), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), this thesis will analyse the role that memorialization may play in the (re)conciliatory process and consider, specifically, the state’s role in any such memory projects. To do this, this project analyses the ways by which memorial projects have been utilized to influence narrative and collective consciousness in a number of different European countries, through case studies relating to the Holocaust. This thesis then juxtaposes European examples (Germany and Poland) of memorialization with the processes and methods underway in Canada with regard to the IRS system. Through this juxtaposition, commonalities and differences are isolated, interrogated, and applied to context-specific sites of atrocity in Canada. This thesis concludes with a discussion on the place of memorialization within the context of (re)conciliation and offers some reflections on how best to proceed—in line with the TRC’s Calls to Action No. 79 to 83—with regard to facilitating the emergence of memory projects in Canada in cooperation with numerous levels of government and Indigenous communities
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    Between oblivion and remembrance: the representation of the Holocaust in Soviet Ukrainian fiction and non-fiction of the 1940s –1960s
    (2023-10-05) Protasova, Hanna; Swift, Megan
    The following thesis examines the representation of the Holocaust in Soviet Ukrainian fiction and non-fiction of the 1940s through the1960s – namely, in the journalism of Iaroslav Halan, Iurii Smolych, and Iurii Ianovskyi, prose works by Varvara Cherednychenko, Iurii Smolych, and Iurii Ianovskyi, Mykola Bazhan’s poetry, as well as in the memoirs of Iryna Khoroshunova and Dina Pronicheva. It also analyzes Ivan Dziuba’s speech delivered by him during the commemorative gathering in Babyn Yar in September 1966. The first two postwar decades in Soviet Ukraine were a crucial period that laid a foundation for the future commemoration of the Holocaust victims, in particular, of those who perished in the Babyn Yar massacre in Kyiv in September 1941. Such a representation was influenced by the Soviet policy on nationalities (both before and after World War II), the aesthetics of socialist realism, and, to a certain degree, by the subjectivities of the Ukrainian journalists and writers who oscillated between compassion and indifference towards their neighbours – and, consequently, between remembrance and oblivion. Drawing on the theoretical approaches of literary scholars (Mikhail Bakhtin, Katerina Clark, Evgeny Dobrenko) and memory studies scholars (Jeffrey Alexander, Aleida Assmann, Cathy Caruth), this study shows that the bottom-up approach to the formation of memory is no less important than the top-down approach and that the individual efforts of the writers and civil activists can go a long way even under the unfavourable political circumstances.
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    Creators and Creatures: Visualizing Franz Kafka
    (2023-09-06) Pereira, Carolina Vik; Pollard, Matthew; Gölz, Peter
    Kafka’s profound fascination with visual arts is evident through his extensive collection of drawings and the visual, evocative nature of his writings. Instead of considering Kafka as merely an author who occasionally dabbled in drawing, this perspective posits him as a Zeichner who also happens to write. This argument proposes that the unique visual characteristics present in Kafka’s text can be traced back to his active involvement in the visual realm, an aspect that has often been overlooked in previous scholarly discussions. To bridge this gap, the present study aims to explore the dynamic relationship between Kafka’s animal figures and the visual arts to demonstrate that Kafka’s literature has not only captivated readers but has also served as a profound source of inspiration for artists, who strive to capture Kafka’s visualizations beyond the confines of the written word. However, the act of creation for Kafka was a deeply wounding experience. In his diaries and stories, Kafka expressed his struggle with the creative process, depicting writing as an act of inscribing pain, violence and/or torture upon oneself, most famously in “In der Strafkolonie” (“In the Penal Colony,” 1919). This notion is reflected in the etymology of the Greek word “graphein,” which encompasses the ideas of writing, drawing, and inscribing, highlighting the inherent violence and intensity involved in the act of creation and the intertwinement of the written word and the drawn image. Particularly, this study examines the short stories “Der Geier” (“The Vulture,” 1920), and “Der Bau” (“The Burrow,” 1931), whose protagonists narrate their bodily suffering (pecking, piercing, scratching and digging). By analyzing these stories with and sometimes against their visual interpretations of contemporary artists, such as Yosl Bergner, Peter Kuper, and Robert Crumb, this thesis illustrates the connection between writing, suffering and animality. Kafka deploys these creature-themed narratives to explore the relationship between writing and suffering. Ultimately, the findings of this research offer a reading of Kafka’s literature as a literature of wounds. It is a body of work that emerges from the realm of pain and suffering, which spills over the text and leaves a mark on those who engage with it.
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    The Cultural Politics in East Germany and China: Literature and Art (1949-1979)
    (2022-12-16) Ge, Liping; Pnevmonidou, Elena
    East Germany and China, two modern socialist countries were established in 1949 during the Cold War era. The developments of socialism in these two countries were different: the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was indoctrinated socialism by the Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), while China was led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a party that believes in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Nonetheless, they had much in common, such as their political structure, economic strategies, guiding ideologies. The leaders of these two countries, in East Germany a succession of heads of states and in the People’s Republic of China one chairman, took advantage of culture as an instrument to maintain certain ruling relationships, which is part of the daily life of people and can become a significant and invisible mean of social control. This thesis analyzes specific incidents in relation to literature and art from 1949 to 1979, when the combination of politics and culture reached the peak such as the “Bitterfeld Way” (East Germany), and “Cultural Revolution” (China), and it explores real life experience and influential work of contemporary writers and artists. Finally, the underlying purpose of applying cultural politics in these two countries will be drastically exposed in socialist film comparisons, as the political figures tried to reconstruct citizens’ ideologies to control people’s minds and further consolidate their regimes.
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    Heavenly fighters for Ukrainian civil society: the cultivation of democratic culture through the memorialization of the Revolution of Dignity
    (2022-02-07) Murray, Emma; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    The 2013–2014 Revolution of Dignity in the capital city of Kyiv was an overwhelming popular demonstration of the Ukrainian public’s desire for a western-oriented, democratic, and European future for Ukraine and its rejection of the Russian-oriented loyalties that have troubled the country since gaining independence in 1991. The western choice embodied by the revolution—which resulted in violent deaths, countless injuries, and the overthrow of the corrupt presidential regime—lingers in the form of memorials that serve not only as reminders of the violence, but as evidence of the continued affirmation of this choice. I argue that the sociological construction of the revolutionary Heavenly Hundred Heroes and the participatory commemorative practices dedicated to such demonstrate how memorialization can foster the transition away from the corrupt authoritarian past toward a democratic future through the promotion of civic engagement. I employ the perspective of memorialization paired with a post-colonial framework to explain how the revolution is remembered by the Ukrainian public, analyzing the key interactions between civic identity formation, hybridity, memory, sites of conscience, and transitional justice to demonstrate how commemoration strengthens the culture of democracy. The examination of three different types of memorialization—grassroots, official, and the site of conscience—demonstrates the different ways in which memorials serve as sites of discourse and engagement for Ukrainian society. The ongoing attempts at the reforms promoting transitional justice demonstrate that memorialization of the revolution, in strengthening the culture of civic engagement, helps promote democracy. In Ukraine, civic engagement fostered by memorials positions them as crucial components of transitional, post-colonial spaces.
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    Creating a “National” Church: The De-Judaization of Protestantism and the Holocaust
    (2021-08-20) McClenagan, Elizabeth; Schallié, Charlotte
    While the majority of German Protestant churches were silent in response to the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany, the Deutsche Christen or German Christian movement enthusiastically supported the Nazi regime’s goals and was actively involved in efforts to extract “Jewish” elements from Protestantism in an effort to create a “pure” German religion. Many scholars view the radical form of Protestantism expressed by this group as a by-product of Nazism. However, I argue that ideas promoting the de-Judaization of Protestantism were already existent within Protestant theology and that Hitler’s rise to power merely provided the opportunity for these ideas to come to fruition. I examine this topic by analyzing nationalistic and anti-Jewish ideas in German Protestant theological texts during the early twentieth century, focusing on how these ideas informed the later de-Judaization of certain churches between 1932 and 1945 under the German Christian movement, which included actions like eliminating the Old Testament from the Protestant Bible and refusing to recognize Jewish conversion to Christianity. I approach this topic by situating my analysis of several key Protestant theological texts within broader scholarly discussions about the position of the churches towards the Jews in Weimar and Nazi Germany.
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    The sublated style of a cinema in transition: Grigori Kozintsev, Leonid Trauberg, and Oleksandr Dovzhenko from the 1920s - 1930s
    (2021-07-06) Bancroft, Alan; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    This Master’s thesis examines the period of transition (1928-1935) in Soviet cinema when the avant-garde directors Grigori Kozintsev, Leonid Trauberg, and Oleksandr Dovzhenko, among others, began to make films under the strictures of a new state-mandated socialist realist aesthetic. It argues, despite the prominence of literature which maintains that socialist realism precipitated a conceptual break that effectively ended avant-garde filmmaking practice, that socialist realism simultaneously preserved, developed, and negated elements of the avant-garde cinema. Using Katerina Clark’s The Soviet Novel and Louis Althusser’s “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” this thesis first illustrates the programmatic, narrative, and ideological continuities between the aesthetics in Kozintsev and Trauberg’s The New Babylon (1929), Alone (1931), and The Youth of Maxim (1935). These films exemplify how socialist realism perpetuated the modified bildungsroman plot pre-figured by the avant-garde, further transformed Leninism’s spontaneity/consciousness dialectic which ideologically interpellates individuals via social being, and began to utilise continuity editing in place of montage to construct overtonal ideological impressions. Next it explores continuities of visual stylistics in five films by Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Zvenigora (1928), Arsenal (1929), Earth (1930), Ivan (1932), and Aerograd (1935). Here the concepts of the “transitional film” and the “reduced form of stylistics” are introduced. The claim is made that the films made after the introduction of sound technology and before the official codification of socialist realism in 1934 represent a distinct hybrid of the avant-garde and socialist realist aesthetics and that a particular mediation of avant-garde stylistics through the new strictures was practiced. In the films of Dovzhenko, the continuing employment of three devices is identified to support the concept of the reduced form of stylistics: the use of the monocle (single element) lens, the poeticization of death, and stylised figure movement. In identifying the trajectories of plot structure, ideology, and stylistic devices in the transition from the avant-garde to socialist realism, this thesis elucidates significant continuities between the two aesthetics that embody a conceptual development, or sublation, in place of a conceptual break, or pure negation.
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    Spirituality and German Romanticism: the influence of Jakob Böhme on Novalis and Caspar David Friedrich
    (2020-05-21) Busch, Mikhail; Pnevmonidou, Elena
    This Master’s thesis shall attempt to reconcile the notion of the spiritual with that of the aesthetic by focusing on the influence of 16th century German mystic Jakob Böhme, with the 19th century cultural movement of German Romanticism. Böhme’s mysticism outlined a spiritual paradigm that fused alchemy with Christianity wherein the properties of nature are inherently led by a spiritual desire towards unity with God. It is through the process of spiritual desire that unity unveils itself. Consequently, Böhme’s mysticism influenced later generations of spiritual thought, including German Romanticism. Within Romanticism, Friedrich von Hardenberg, know by his pen name Novalis, developed a philosophy and aesthetic theory that expanded away from the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment. This new philosophy focused on the subjective experience and how revelation of the self was to be experienced through creative introspection, as a consequence of encountering and interacting with the other. Novalis‘ philosophy incorpterated religious motifs and spirituality to assert that it was through creative striving that spiritual revelation was to be achieved from within oneself. Caspar David Friedrich was a Romantic landscape painter whose work focused on the notion of humanity in the face of nature. Friedrich often painted landscapes as an allegory for Christian values and religious inquiry that becomes an existential introspection through nature. Through comparative analysis I shall demonstrate how the ideas and works of Novalis and Caspar David Friedrich correlate with the spiritual mysticism of Böhme that represent the greater discourse that is spirituality itself.
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    New men for a new world: reconstituted masculinities in Jewish-Russian literature (1903 – 1925)
    (2019-05-01) Calof, Ethan; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    This Master’s thesis explores Jewish masculinity and identity within early twentieth-century literature (1903-1925), using texts written by Jewish authors in late imperial Russia and the early Soviet Union. This was a period of change for Russia’s Jewish community, involving increased secularization and reform, massive pogroms such as in Kishinev in 1903, newfound leadership within the 1905 and 1917 Revolutions, and a rise in both Zionist and Revolutionary ideology. Subsequently, Jewish literary masculinity experienced a significant shift in characterization. Historically, a praised Jewish man had been portrayed as gentle, scholarly, and faithful, yet early twentieth century Jewish male literary figures were asked to be physically strong, hypermasculine, and secular. This thesis first uses H.N. Bialik’s “In the City of Slaughter” (1903) and Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye Goes to Palestine” (1914) to introduce a concept of “Jewish shame,” or a sentiment that historical Jewish masculinity was insufficient for a contemporary Russian world. It then creates two models for these new men to follow. The Assimilatory Jew, seen in Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry cycle (published throughout the 1920s), held that perpetual outsider Jewish men should imitate the behaviour of a secular whole in order to be accepted. The Jewish Superman is depicted in Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “In Memory of Herzl” (1904) and Ilya Selvinsky’s “Bar Kokhba” (1920), and argues that masculine glory is entirely compatible with a proud Jewish identity, without an external standard needed. Judith Butler’s theories on gender performativity are used to analyze these diverse works, published in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian by authors of varying political alignments, to establish commonalities among these literary canons and plot a new spectrum of desired identities for Jewish men.
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    "Jetzt kann ich diesem nur sagen, daβ ich schweige": Über die dramatische Gestaltung des Schweigens in Karl Kraus' Drama Die letzten Tage der Menschheit
    (2018-08-30) Flicker, André; Pnevmonidou, Elena
    English: In this thesis I examine the concept of satirical silence as the compositional principle of Karl Kraus’s drama Die letzten Tage der Menschheit to demonstrate the ways in which the features of modern satire introduce the recipient to the construction of its critique. In Kraus’s drama, silence manifests itself twofold: as a reaction to the First World War and as the only remaining form of satire in the context of public war-euphoria and the widespread use of the press and war-coverage as propaganda tools. From the interruption of Kraus’s periodical Die Fackel at the beginning of the war to the satirical treatment of the homefront in his drama, Kraus’s silence represents a performance of imposed powerlessness. By approaching Kraus’s drama with Walter Benjamin’s concept of storytelling, I analyze satirical silence as an appropriate aesthetic response to the prevailing social conditions and thus to the changing character of the public sphere in modern society. Benjamin’s concept of storytelling and his description of incommunicability as a characteristic of post-war society are at the center of my analysis of modern satire as a reception-based literary practice. Given that satire is a social conversation practice between satirist and recipient, I argue that Kraus’s use of drama as a medium for reprocessing the First World War is built upon the ability of the dramatic form to show how silence emerges as the result of a break between the conversation partners of satire. German: In dieser Arbeit beschreibe ich das Konzept des satirischen Schweigens als Gestaltungsform von Karl Kraus’ Drama Die letzten Tage der Menschheit, um hierin die Züge der modernen Satire in der Hinwendung zum Rezipienten zur Formulierung der satirischen Kritik zu erweisen. Das Schweigen manifestiert sich in Kraus’ Drama sowohl als Reaktion gegenüber dem Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkrieges, wie auch als die einzig verbleibende Gestaltungsform der Satire angesichts des Verlusts ihres Publikums an den Kriegsenthusiasmus und die propagandistisch gestimmte mediale Berichterstattung. Von der Unterbrechung der Publikation seiner Zeitschrift Die Fackel zu Beginn des Krieges hin zur Dokumentation der Heimatfront in seinem Drama bekundet das Schweigen des Satirikers eine Ausdruckskraft in der erzwungenen Ausdruckslosigkeit. Mit Walter Benjamins Konzept des Erzählens analysiere ich das satirische Schweigen als angemessene ästhetische Reaktion auf die gesellschaftlichen Gegebenheiten und somit veränderten Umstände der öffentlichen Rezeption in der modernen Gesellschaft. Benjamins Konzept des Erzählens sowie seine Beschreibung der Unmitteilbarkeit der Nachkriegsgesellschaft bilden die theoretische Fundierung meiner Analyse der modernen Satire als rezeptionsästhetische Kategorie. Ausgehend von dem Verständnis der Satire als ein soziales Gespräch zwischen Satiriker und Rezipient, sehe ich Kraus’ Zuwendung zum Drama als Medium der Aufarbeitung des Ersten Weltkrieges in dem dramatischen Vermögen begründet, das Schweigen als Bruch der Gesprächsteilnehmer, als Bruch der Beziehung von Satire und Öffentlichkeit zu dialogisieren.
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    Storytelling tricksters: a reader’s coming-of-age in young adult fantasy fiction in Germany
    (2018-06-13) Kim, Chorong; Pnevmonidou, Elena
    In this thesis, I examine three works of modern German fantasy fiction for young adults, their common grounding in the Romantic aesthetic framework and in particular the Romantic notion of creativity, and the implication of their unique fantasy fiction paradigm in our modern day. The novels are Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (1979), Inkheart (2003) by Cornelia Funke and The City of Dreaming Books (2006) by Walter Moers. They represent a Germany-specific narrative paradigm which can be seen in the protagonist readers’ transformation from mere readers into storymakers/storytellers, and in the conflict between a book-loving hero and antagonists who are against literature. The protagonists embody the Romantic notion of creativity that involves the sublimation of a poet’s crisis into an exploration of the self. The mundane is infused with fantasy, thereby elevating reality to an idealised state. These Romantic storytelling readers act as tricksters, a fairy tale archetype that shares similarities with the figure of the Romantic poet. I employ the theoretical frameworks of German Romanticism, Frankfurt School critical theory, and postmodern models, including those by Deleuze and Guattari. I argue for a modern version of the trickster archetype which explains how a complacent, passive reader becomes an active storyteller.
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    Corporeal canvas: art, protest, and power in contemporary Russia
    (2018-01-02) Ehle, Kate; Swift, Megan
    This thesis examines the recent emergence of corporeal protest art in Russia. Through analyses of cultural, social, and economic shifts in the post-Soviet Era, I observe how this corporeal turn reflects a significant cultural transition away from the literary text, which has traditionally held a role of major importance in Russian culture. Detailed analysis of the contemporary performances of Pussy Riot and Petr Pavlensky are conducted in order to elucidate the social and political causes and implications of such a shift. Manifestation of oppositional discourse on the site of the human body is understood theoretically through Giorgio Agamben’s biopolitics, Mikhail Bakhtin’s grotesque body, and Inke Arns’ and Sylvia Sasse’s theory of subversive affirmation. Interestingly, this artistic divergence has coincided with the rise of relative economic and social wellbeing in Russia – conditions that tend to foster the development of a burgeoning public sphere, now standing at odds with an increase in political repression. Oppositionists and protest artists are, therefore, exploring new and unconventional ways of expressing dissent. My study contextualizes these new methods of expression within the larger tradition of the cultural expression of political will, examining the ways in which these works are readable through Russian cultural norms and to whom they speak.
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    Beyond the memory: the era of witnessing – analyzing processes of knowledge production and memorialization of the Holocaust through the concepts of translocal assemblage and witness creation
    (2016-05-09) Gerber, Myriam Bettina; Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine; Schallie, Charlotte
    This paper considers the symbiotic relationship between iconic visual representations of the Holocaust – specifically film and Holocaust sites – and processes of Holocaust memorialization. In conjunction, specific sites and objects related to the Holocaust have become icons. I suggest that specific Holocaust sites as well as Holocaust films can be perceived as elements of one and/or multiple translocal assemblage/s. My focus in this analysis is on the role of knowledge production and witness creation in Holocaust memorialization. It is not my intention to diminish the role of Holocaust memorialization; rather, I seek to look beyond representational aspects, and consider the processual relationships involved in the commemoration of the Holocaust in institutions, such as memorial sites and museums, as well as through elements of popular culture, such as films. Furthermore, I analyze the tangible and intangible layers of memories and meaning present in Holocaust films and sites through the lens of palimpsests. These conceptual frameworks allow me to consider how visual representations of the Holocaust, such as film, and site inform each other? How are specific representations of Holocaust sites and objects shaping and informing the commemoration of the Holocaust in the 21st century?
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    Re-remembering Porraimos: memories of the Roma Holocaust in post-socialist Ukraine and Russia
    (2015-06-22) Konstantinov, Maria; Yekelchyk, Serhy; Wilson, Margot
    This thesis explores the ways in which the Holocaust experiences and memories of Roma communities in post-Socialist Ukraine and Russia have been both remembered and forgotten. In these nations, the Porraimos, meaning the “Great Devouring” in some Romani dialects, has been largely silenced by the politics of national memory, and by the societal discrimination and ostracization of Roma communities. While Ukraine has made strides towards memorializing Porraimos in the last few decades, the Russian state has yet to do the same. I question how experiences of the Porraimos fit into Holocaust memory in these nations, why the memorialization of the Porraimos is important, what the relationship between communal and public memory is, and lastly, how communal Roma memory is instrumental in reshaping the public memory of the Holocaust. I approach these questions through a comparative, interdisciplinary framework that combines historical analysis, interviews with two Russian Roma individuals from St. Petersburg Russia, an overview of existing literature and film that focus on the Porraimos, and a survey of the memorials for Roma victims in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe. Using these methods, I determine how the Porraimos fits into political and cultural memory in these nations, and what the future of Porraimos memory might look like.
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    Gezi Spirit on Russian Streets?: The Emergence and Potential of Russia’s Contemporary Left
    (2014-09-08) Berg, Albrecht; Vahabzadeh, Peyman; Yekelchyk, Serhy
    Many considered the end of Soviet Communism as a sign that politics, and Left politics in particular, had been transcended in Russia and the world. Yet recent events, and this author’s own experience, contradict this vision. This paper will show that there is a radical, emancipatory, progressive Left emerging in Russia. However, this emerging politics remains unimaginable within the conventional ontology of Russian politics. This hegemonic ontology envisions an antagonism between “two Russias”: the conservative, lethargic, Eastern, rural masses and the energetic, progressive, Western, urban minority, which divides the political field among the existing actors. This paper will reject this vision and redraw the political landscape such that the contours of Russia’s emerging new Left can come to light. In this task, the author draws on the theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Their post-Marxism emphasizes the discursive nature of socio-political dynamics and rejects the positivism of canonical Marxism. This paper affirms their basic premise, but advances a “discursive materialist” reading that explicitly rejects idealism and post-political fantasies. Through this theoretical lens it is possible not only to account for the emergence of the new Russian Left as such, but to show how its emergence works to effect a general reconfiguration of the political field. An excursion to the Turkish Gezi Park protests of 2013 vividly demonstrates the potential of Russia’s emerging Left, namely, its capacity to articulate a progressive, emancipatory populism.
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    Found in translation: an ongoing dialogue between theory and practice
    (2014-09-03) Kell, Zola; Schallié, Charlotte
    In this thesis I outline my theory of translation as an interpretive tool. I undertake an analysis of the concepts of heteroglossia, hybridity, and positionality, as conceived of by Mikhail Bakhtin, Homi K. Bhabha, and Linda Alcoff, respectively. These ideas function similarly: heteroglossic forces are constantly being brought to bear upon languages, the hybrid nature of culture is continually being rearticulated, and the positionality of the interpreter is always subject to change. I establish a theory that allows for translation to remain open, a theory that sees all incarnations of a text (the source and all of its translations) as being perpetually discursive, rather than fixing upon one version as the definitive or “correct” rendering. Translations occupy a fluctuating, unstable, and therefore creative location; they provide an ever-shifting temporal and spatial perspective. I translate excerpts from texts written by the Afro-German poet May Ayim and the Turkish German author Emine Sevgi Özdamar from German into English. This brings my theory into application and demonstrates both the fluidity of translation and the depth of interpretation to be found within this process.
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    From the Lancet to the Page: An Analysis of Bloodletting as a Metaphor For Bearing Witness and Its Potentially Deadly Consequences
    (2014-08-29) Severyn, Ryan J.; Schallie, Charlotte
    By investigating the metaphorical connection between bloodletting and the act of writing and drawing, this thesis examines the effects and potential dangers of bearing witness and recording witness testimonials as it is experienced by first-generation and second-generation Holocaust witnesses/authors respectively. Primo Levi’s works as well as biographical records documenting his life and death are examined as the primary sources for the analysis of the survivor or first-generation witness/author. Art Spiegelman’s graphic novels Maus and Maus II provide the source materials for the exploration of the second or ‘postmemory’ generation’s experience with recording their own inherited transgenerational trauma. To support this metaphorical and theoretical framework, I will engage the theories of Janet McCord and her study on suicide and Holocaust survivors as well as employ the works of Sigmund Freud, Dominick LaCapra, Cathy Caruth and Marianne Hirsch in relation to their work on cultural trauma and memory.
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    Uncanny Reminders: The 'Nazi' in Popular Culture
    (2014-08-15) Tobler, Tamara Lynn; Thorson, Helga
    The ubiquity of the ‘Nazi’ – the fictional Doppelgänger of the historical Nazi – in the various media of popular culture is both disturbing and fascinating. There is an important relationship between the ‘Nazi’ and its audience; related to but separate from the historical Nazi, the creation and reception of the ‘Nazi’ both enables and exemplifies the continual processing of the past. Using a purpose-built framework (concept and terminology) for the study of the ‘Nazi’ as a phenomenon in and of itself, in combination with Freud’s concept of the uncanny, this thesis examines the dynamics of the relationship between the ‘Nazi’ and its audience in four examples: television episodes “Deaths-Head Revisited,” “He’s Alive” (The Twilight Zone), and “Patterns of Force” (Star Trek); and Serdar Somuncu’s performances/readings of Mein Kampf. The temporal and geographical context of the episodes (1960s America) seem far removed from Somuncu’s performances (1990s/2000s Germany), but analysing the production and effects of the uncanny moments generated in each case reveals a provocative raison d’être that spans across the geographical and temporal divide.
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    The Aesthetics and Ethics of Refraction: Narrative Structure, Imagery, and Temporality in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz
    (2014-08-05) Michaud, Jason; Thorson, Helga
    The purpose of this thesis is to examine the aesthetic structure and components of W.G. Sebald’s novel Austerlitz and to show their reciprocal relationship to ethical forms of remembrance for the present and the future. The goal of this project is to explain how fiction may be utilized as a means of meaningful engagement with points of traumatic memory for the purpose of maintaining viable connections to the past across time. The first chapter deals explicitly with the novel’s overall structure and its relation to philosophical forms of thought that facilitate a practical connection to the past through fiction. The next chapter examines the use of refracted or indirect narration as an aesthetic component of this process. The final chapter constitutes an investigation of photography as a structure in this aesthetic that lends itself to the overall obliqueness I see as necessary to the ethics of representation embodied in Austerlitz.
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    Sounding Through Silence: Inter-Generational Voicings in Memoir, Memory, and Postmodernity
    (2014-04-07) Bhandar, Veronica Maria Delphine; Thorson, Helga
    This thesis brings together two disciplines—creative non-fiction memoir and literary/historical critique—that seek to open avenues of discourse with regard to the legacy of the Second World War and the Holocaust for subsequent generations. Ruth Kluger’s Holocaust memoir weiter leben: Eine Jugend and its English Language version written ten years later, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, are analyzed for their postmodernist challenge to traditional notions of testimony and genre. W. G. Sebald’s novel The Emigrants is examined for its “imagetext” constructions that act to elucidate aspects of mourning and Vergangenheitsbewältigung (dealing with the past). This thesis is a post-structuralist approach that performs, through memoir, the construction of identity/subjectivity, but it is also a journey, performed in the spirit of belated mourning, that is part of the larger historical postwar discourse regarding the inability to mourn.