Yana Hashamova: Legacies of State Socialism, Renewed Dichotomies, and Southeast European Diaspora

Thursday, April 6, 2023
12:00 pm | Virtual

Legacies of State Socialism, Renewed Dichotomies, and Southeast European Diaspora

Two Bulgarian women from different generations living in France find themselves confronted by one of the most morally abhorrent legacies of socialism, the role of the state secrete services and regular peoples’ complacency. Analyzing Bojina Panayotova’s documentary “I See Red People” (Je vois rouge; Червено, твърде червено, 2018), in which she discovers facts about her family’s participation in the state secret services’ apparatus and exploring the “scandal” of Julia Kristeva’s collaboration with these units, I interrogate the legacy of totalitarianism and persistent divisions in East European societies, still unable to confront their past as well as the media sensationalism in the West, still unable to know Eastern Europe and to analyze its history. At the background of this discussion, I uncover anxieties of the individual and shift of “positions” among diaspora writers and filmmakers. Based on these two cases (and others) I consider theoretical questions on thinking Europe and the West from the periphery and the invizibalized space. Moving beyond post-imperial, post-colonial, and post-socialist concepts, are there other productive approaches to revitalized Cold War imaginaries and globality of state socialism and its legacies?

Yana Hashamova is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Slavic and Core/Affiliate Professor of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts; Comparative Studies; Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies; and the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. Honorary Research Associate at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Institute of Culture and Memory Studies), Dr. Hashamova is also editor of the Slavic and East European Journal, the publication of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. In her interdisciplinary monographs and multi-disciplinary co-edited volumes, she strives to establish links between political ideology and constructs of national, ethnic, and gender identities in cultures, while analyzing power relations and post-Soviet conditions.