D. Phil Candidate, University of Oxford (2019-2022)
Kandidat nauk in Philology, Moscow State University (1997-2000)
Diplom, with honours (M.A. equiv.), Faculty of Philology, Moscow State University (1992-1997)
At Oxford I hold a grant from the Hill Foundation. I am also an affiliated researcher at the Laboratory for Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art (European Humanities University, Vilnius).
My D. Phil project analyzes contemporary selective amnesia about the collective feelings of perestroika and of the early nineties, especially of the “positive spectrum”. In contemporary Russia, Gorbachev’s programme has vanished almost without trace. This is in curious contrast to the vitality of the intellectual and emotional climate of perestroika that combined idealistic euphoria with mourning the repressed, and an appeal to humanize the present with calls to revive revolutionary ideals. What is the nature of these “memory holes” and “frozen emotions”?
My main focus is documentary photography and affect. I am interested in the history of emotions and affect theory, and my thesis also relies on my collaborative contacts with colleagues in psychology/therapy and my work as an art critic and a photography writer in Moscow (since 2000). I think that to study memory processes we need to go beyond textual analysis: visual imagery can give additional dimensions here, because affect always contains a pre-verbal, somatosensory trace. At the same time, I am interested in how to study the researcher’s own subjectivity: can we feel and analyze at the same time? My previous work was on word and image connections in Elizabethan literature, and this research has also expanded and enriched my views on contemporary culture and our recent history. My interest in the contemporary has developed from my engagement with cultural and social journalism and curating exhibitions. I have accumulated a lot of empirical knowledge that I would like to make part of academic reflection.