Eliot Borenstein

Borenstein, Eliot - Headshot (02.27.13)

Eliot Borenstein is a Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies and Collegiate Professer at New York University. Educated at Oberlin College (B.A., 1988) and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (M.A., 1989, Ph.D., 1993), Mr. Borenstein was an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia (1993-95) before taking an appointment at NYU in 1995.

His early publications dealt largely with issues of sexuality and masculinity in Slavic literature. Men Without Women: Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917-1929 (Duke UP, 2000), which was an outgrowth of his dissertation, won the 2001 award for best book in literature or cultural scholarship from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages.

Mr. Borenstein’s current research on popular culture is a natural outgrowth of his earlier studies, and his publications are often a melding of the two. Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture (Cornell UP, 2008), which won the award for best book in women’s studies or gender studies from the Association of Women in Slavic Studies, and “Iteration through Innovation: Russian Popular Culture Today,” which he edited with Mark Lipovetsy and Elena Baraban and published in Slavic and East European Journal (48, No. 1 [2004]), are but two examples.   He is currently at work on two projects:  Russia’s Alien Nations: Imagining the Other after Socialism, and Catastrophe of the Week: Apocalyptic Entertainment in Post-Soviet Russia.

Among his many honors are a Mellon Fellowship (1988-90), IREX grants (1997, 2000), NYU’s Goddard Fellowship (1999) and Golden Dozen Teaching Awards (1999, 2005), a Fulbright Fellowship (1999) for study in Moscow, an SSRC Eurasia Fellowship (2002), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009).

Articles by Eliot Borenstein

Rich Sovok, Poor Sovok (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Mamin’s own window to international stardom was closed off abruptly.

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Vampire Orphans Need Love, Too (WQ 14)

If this were Homeland, all of the documents would be on a wall, with red threads connecting them to each other.  Of course, if this were Homeland, the detective would be a lot more compelling. 

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Notre Dame de Russian Social Media Bullsh*t

Ksenia Sobchak has revealed her true colors.

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“I’ll Buy the Wife Some Boots” (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The aesthetic of the MMM commercials is sovok from start to finish.

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Selling the Cherry Orchard (Russia’s Alien Nations)

On the battleground of market capitalism, the sovok is a metaphysical conscientious objector.

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Dressing for Failure (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The sovok phenomenon is haunted by ambivalence.

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Fandorin Meets Dracula (WQ 13)

There is precious little bloodsucking in Akunin’s oeuvre, which I’ve long considered a serious flaw.

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Sovok-lore (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Even though the sovok is the product of Soviet/Russian urban folklore, he does not usually fit the traditional genres associated with it.

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A Tribute to “Sovok of the Week” (Russia’s Alien Nations)

For a brief, glorious time in the 2000s, a website established by three post-Soviet emigres devoted itself exclusively to the topic of sovok.

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A Sovok is a Person, Place, or Thing (Russia’s Alien Nations)

“Sovok” becomes a diagnosis of a familiar, lamentable condition.

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The Case of the Multiple Fandorins (WQ 12)

Fandorin has now had enough brushes with death to start his own beauty salon.

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The Dustpan of History (Russia’s Alien Nations)

“Sovok” circulated the same way as the best critical or anti-Soviet cultural phenomena did during Soviet times: as folklore

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Homo Sucker (Russia’s Alien Nations)

As an alternative to Homosos, “zoe” (bare life, the life of the animal, non-political body) starts to look positively attractive

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Cooking the Raw Youth (Akunin WQ 11)

This is less “The Queen of Spades” and more “Scooby Doo Meets Batman.”

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The Descent of Soviet Man (Russia’s Alien Nations)

“Homo Sovieticus” is not just Latin; it’s a biological term that suggests both an evolutionary process and even the rise of separate species.

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The New Soviet Man and His Gerontologist (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Some of the men who populated Brezhnev’s famously geriatric politburo may have been “New Men” or even “New Soviet Men” in their youth

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Fandorin Rouge, Fandorin Noir (Akunin WQ 10)

Yes, an honest-to-god hidden door

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New Men in Love (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The “New People suffer from a socialist version of the “terrible perfection” Barbara Heldt identified as the defining flaw of nineteenth-century Russian heroines

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Old Dogs and New Ticks (Russia’s Alien Nations)

What do you expect when your raw material is a dog?

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Playing with a Full Deck (Akunin WQ 8-9)

Fandorin returns to Pushkin and Lermontov territory

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