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

The Ballad of Sonya and Louie: An Immigrant Story

I had thought my family was Russian, but then when I went to college, I found out we were just Jews.

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Hulk Smash Stupid Russia Theories

Monocausal explanations have the virtue of catchiness and the vice of absurdity.

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In Defense of Russia’s Holocaust on Ice

Has “Springtime for Hitler” finally met its match?

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American Fascism: Lessons from Russia

Putin is not a fascist, in part because he does not need to be. Trump ran a consistently fascist campaign.

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Russia vs. PornHub: Lie Back and Think of the Motherland

Apparently, people would rather do anything else—watch porn, have gay sex—than engage in heterosexual intercourse.

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PokéMaidan, or, How to Start a Moral Panic in Russia

Pokémon Go troubles the Russian media imagination because it represents the return of the repressed.

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Is Donald Trump carrying Putin’s baby?

The real problem with the constant Trump/Putin comparisons is that they are profoundly unfair… to Putin.

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No Netflix, No Chill: Russia’s Culture Minister Would Rather Purge than Binge

In the West, we’ve long been familiar with the clear and present danger of Netflix.

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The Post-Soviet Future of FX’s The Americans: A Modest Proposal

It’s time for The Americans to jump the shark.

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Barriers to Entry: AIDS, Condoms and Rank Stupidity in Russia

Throw out your condoms and pick up your Bibles (but try not to confuse the two, or you’ll run afoul of Russian laws protecting the delicate feelings of religious believers): HIV is a medical problem whose only solution is spiritual.

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Vegans vs. Sausage-Wielding Nationalists; or, How I Miffed Your Motherland

Vegans: occasionally self-righteous but well-meaning advocates of good health and animal welfare, or traitors to the Motherland? And why would post-Soviet nationalists see seitan as a path to Satan?

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Papa Don’t Preach:  The Church, Chekhov, and Checks and Balances

Тhis is the sort of story that gives someone like me an illicit thrill, the sense of satisfaction that comes when an institution you distrust once again behaves like a parody of itself.

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Russian fascists for Trump!

Trump and his European cheerleaders are a global movement against global movements, the nationalist champions of a neo-Fascist International.

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Thank You, Comrade Stalin, for Ben Carson

In Russia, the Dulles Plan was a pre-digital Internet meme, from back in the days when memes had to walk twenty miles in the freezing cold before finding a gullible host to infect.

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New Book, New Blog: Plots against Russia

I’m posting my new book to a blog as I write it, in real time.

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Caught in a Bad Romance: What America Means to Russia

Russia has become the latest focus for the naive question we never get tired of asking: “Why do they hate us so much?”

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The David Brooks I Miss; or, What Passes for Commentary about Russia

Again and again I found myself taking sides in our ongoing debate: is David Brooks thoroughly awful or only somewhat awful?

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Russian Propaganda and the Return of the Repressed; or, Why the Cheese Never Stands Alone

The Paleo Diet has finally been knocked from its perch as the stupidest food trend of the twenty-first century, replaced by an even stranger phenomenon: the Russian government’s mass, televised destruction of banned imported food.

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Six Questions for Jenny Kaminer about her new book, Women with a Thirst for Destruction: The Bad Mother in Russian Culture

““Bad,” of course is a highly relative, historically contingent, and variable term. I try to shed light on how changing political, social, and cultural contexts shape the varying models of maternity that circulate in a given time period. “

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Porn for Peace: Ending the War in Ukraine While Riding a Dolphin

In a world where brother battles brother, and Russia and Ukraine find themselves in a virtual state of war, Only One Man could restore peace and harmony. One Man. Sandwiched between two bleached blondes. Riding an inflatable dolphin. And wearing nothing but a jockstrap.

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