Amelia Glaser, UC San Diego Eastern European Fellow, selected as Harvard Radcliffe Fellow

UC San Diego Amelia Glaser Chair in Judaic Studies. Photo by Dorottya Hegedus-Lum.

University of California San Diego Associate Professor Amelia Glaser has been appointed 2021-2022 Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, where she will investigate contemporary literature and art in Ukraine to better understand how a collective identity can to be reimagined publicly during and immediately after political events. upheaval.

A specialist in Ukrainian, Russian and Yiddish literature, as well as a translator of these languages, Glaser said she hopes to understand whether it is possible for a people to change their “imagined identity”, adapting to changing conceptions of the world. community and citizenship.

“Since 2014, Ukraine has become a theater where assumptions about nationalism, post-communism, democracy and multi-ethnicity are tested and reinvented,” she said. “Can a post-Soviet nation-state, torn between Western and Russian interests, reinvent its identity?

As a 2021-2022 Rita E. Hauser Fellow, Glaser will undertake research that she plans to eventually publish in a book tentatively titled “Staging Ukraine: Reimagining Community in 21st Century Performance”. She will join a group of artists, scientists, academics and practitioners at the institute who will learn from and inspire each other over a year of interdisciplinary discoveries and exchanges during ‘a residence in Cambridge, Mass.

“My new project, which was conceived shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic, has taken on new dimensions over the past year,” Glaser said. “Many networks of Eastern European poets who formed as a result of Euromaidan 2013-2014 – a series of civil protests in Ukraine that led to the Ukrainian revolution of 2014 – have moved to virtual spaces due to the physical isolation of the pandemic. , and these changes will be part of my study of a new literary landscape in Eastern Europe.

Recognizing that the pandemic has changed the way people make connections, Glaser spent the last year getting to know Ukrainian writers and artists on virtual platforms, and said she was excited about the opportunity to lead talks. in-person research. Harvard University is home to the largest collection of Ukrainian literature outside of Ukraine, and she said she looks forward to working with these collections as her research continues.

Glaser is the former director of the Jewish Studies Program and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Program, both at UC San Diego Institute of Arts and Humanities. She joined the university’s literature department in 2006, and has advised on several doctorates. students of comparative literature and cultural studies. On July 1, 2021, she was awarded the UC San Diego Chair in Judaic Studies.

His first book, “Jews and Ukrainians in the Literary Borders of Russia” (2012), explored Russians, Ukrainians and Jews who described themselves in the fiction and poetry of the Imperial Russian Pale of Settlement. This was published in Russian translation in 2021. His most recent book, “Songs in Dark Times: Yiddish Poetry of Struggle from Scottsboro to Palestine” (2020), is a study of left-wing Yiddish poets in the 1930s who wrote on other minorities.

Glaser is also editor of “Stories of Khmelnytsky: Literary Legacies of the 1648 Ukrainian Cossack Uprising” (2015), co-editor of “Komintern Aesthetics” (2020) and translator of “Proletpen: America’s Rebel Yiddish Poets” (2005). .

“Staging Ukraine” is a departure from the research for Glaser, whose past work has focused on literary history as opposed to contemporary writers. She expressed her enthusiasm for this new project, which will allow her to bring her understanding of the history of coexisting literatures in Ukraine to contemporary artistic representations of Ukraine in theater, music, comedy, literature and visual arts. These forms – rock concerts, online poetry, graffiti art, Jewish comedy, Russian films and parades – are a platform to re-evaluate the way people talk about nationality, multi-ethnicity and belonging, Glaser said.

“Previously, only ethnically identified Ukrainians, who spoke the language from childhood, called themselves ‘Ukrainians’, while other Ukrainian citizens identified themselves as Russians, Jews, Tatars, etc. “Since 2014, researchers have found that more Ukrainian citizens, including non-Ukrainian speakers and migrants, choose to call themselves Ukrainians, and that others embrace the multi-ethnic potential of this category of identity.

Glaser said she believes what is happening in contemporary Ukraine may help Americans consider the importance of reassessing identity: “As Americans and others attempt to understand a polarizing public sphere quickly, Ukraine’s struggle to define itself offers a case study of how competing versions of history emerge in the public sphere.

“Contemporary Ukraine offers a model for understanding how the stories we tell about nationality and identity can be changed over time. “

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