City Myth: Soviet and Post-Soviet Sites of Memory (SLAVIC 365)
How does memory work in Soviet and post-Soviet space? How do cities create and transform memory? This course uncovers the layers of cultural history in four Russian and Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Odesa, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. All four cities were imagined as utopian projects and all underwent transformation and destruction in the 20th century; their earlier layers exist only in literary texts and films. Readings combine literary and critical theory (Benjamin,Foucault, Barthes, Lotman) with fiction and films (Akhmatova, Andrukhovych, Babel, Bitov, Bulgakov, Bunin, Paradzhanov, Sokurov, Trifonov, Zhabotinsky, Vertov, Zeldovich) that display the ongoing collective memory work on the Soviet legacy. Students will create cartographic projects with Google Maps, Earth and Tour Builder, and HyperCities that visualize the urban palimpsest of cities undergoing major transformations.