Chernobyl: from Soviet Utopia to Post-Soviet Apocalypse (REES 322, SLAVIC 171)
The course will introduce students to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster through the history of the late Soviet utopian project of the "atomic cities" to the intellectual, aesthetic, and artistic responses that the Chernobyl catastrophe generated in the post-Soviet Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian societies. During the course, we will study environmental, social, and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and analyze its many representations across a range of media and cultures. In the end of the course, we will create a portrait of Chernobyl in the collaborative multimedia project ¿The Control Room #4¿ which will assemble the representation of Chernobyl in fictional, cinematographic, oral histories, map projects, VR, photography, and other media in order to show how the disaster resonates across space and time. We will consider such issues as urban and technological utopias of the late Soviet Union, representations of the disaster; ethics; health and disease; the body and its deconstruction; ecology and climate; the appropriation of disaster narratives and disaster tourism; the media and cover-ups; and faith and religion.