Davis Center: Affective Dualities: Aleksandr Rozenbaum as a Russian Jewish Artist


Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, S153

Aleksandr Rozenbaum is one of the most prominent practitioners in Russia of a musical genre known as chanson. Russian chanson finesses sympathy for the criminal outsider with an eclectic nationalism that fuses present-day patriotism with nostalgia for certain aspects of life in the Soviet Union. Rozenbaum stands out as a performer who challenges a wide range of assumptions about cultural belonging. His music and public persona are rich with startling juxtapositions: of lyrical ballads about both Cossacks and the mythic world of the Jewish criminal underworld in Odessa; of spirited defenses of current Russian military and foreign policy, as well as blistering critiques of the legacy of Stalinism; of bluntly nationalistic statements and anthems on the one hand, and sympathetic treatments of the possibilities for a genuinely hybrid Russian Jewish identity on the other. The presentation examines Rozenbaum’s evolving career in light of the negotiation of his Jewishness within the networks of Soviet and post-Soviet artistic labor.

Alexandar Mihailovic is Professor Emeritus of Russian and Comparative Literature at Hofstra University, and currently teaches in the Literature program at Bennington College. He writes reviews for the online journalKinokultura: New Russian Cinema, and has published articles on religious studies, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian and Ukrainian literature, and cultural relations during the Cold War.  He is the author of Corporeal Words: Mikhail Bakhtin’s Theology of Discourse and the editor of the volumeTchaikovsky and His Contemporaries. With Helga Druxes and Karolin Machtans, he co-edited Navid Kermani (2016), a volume of articles about the contemporary Iranian German essayist and novelist. His next book, The Mit’ki and the Art of Postmodern Protest in Russia, is under contract at University of Wisconsin Press.


Alexandar Mihailovic, Visiting Professor of Literature, Bennington College; Professor Emeritus of Russian and Comparative Literature, Hofstra University

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

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