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 Soviet Union in the Twenty-First Century (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Russia becomes both a force to be reckoned with and an oppressed minority on the world stage.

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U.S. vs. Russia: Make America Fat Again

What we lack in GDP we make up for in BMI.

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A Hero of Someone Else’s Time (Russia’s Alien Nations)

An alien visiting Russia, whether that alien is from America or Mars, is going to require a huge amount of information to get up to speed

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The Sudden Death of the Romantic (Akunin WQ 5)

As Chekhov taught us, if a whalebone corset appears in Chapter One, it’s bound to get stabbed in Chapter Five.

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UFOs after the USSR (Russia’s Alien Nations)

It doesn’t hurt that the alien visitor happens to look like he would be equally at home in either his spaceship or on the cover of Tiger Beat.

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Luck Be a Lady Tonight (Akunin WQ 4)

The Winter Queen is less a first installment than it is a prequel

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A Hothouse Flower in a Communal Apartment (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Sinyavsky exploits the alien metaphor to the fullest by making his narrator an exotic plant that can barely survive in the harsh Moscow winter and the harsher Soviet communal apartment.

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NYT: Let’s Get Racist about Russia!

What’s black and white and red-baiting all over? 

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Undocumented Aliens (Russia’s Alien Nations)

“Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.”

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Fantastic Beasts and Where Not to Find Them (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Science fiction has inestimable value for considerations of alterity

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The Very Long Nineteenth Century (Akunin WQ 2-3)

Iin the beginning of The Winter Queen we see all the ways in which witnesses tried *not* to see the suicide happen.

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Russians on the Verge of a Nerdish Breakdown (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Russia’s Alien Nations: The Secret Identities of Postsocialism is the first volume in a two-book study. Each looks at postsocialist identify formation, but each with its own emphasis

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Self-Hatred and Melancholia (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Self-hatred and (racial) melancholia offer a productive way to address post-Soviet Russia

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How the Self-Made Man is Made (Akunin WQ 1)

Erast Fandorin gets bitten by a radioactive raznochinets and is granted super-raznochinets abilities.

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Philosophical Moving Pictures (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Мikhalkov’s recreation of Russia is an exercise in sympathetic magic, meant to transform the derussified masses from de facto foreigners into the Russians they are meant to be.

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Rereading Akunin: An Introduction

Why reread Boris Akunin? For that matter, why read him in the first place? And, for God’s sake, why blog about it?

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Dancing Bear, Bring Me My Vodka! (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The Barber of Siberia is not just a drag; it’s a drag show.

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“He’s Russian. That Explains a Lot”: Nikita Mikhalkov’s Magnificent Flop (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Had a foreigner made this movie, it would have been offensive.

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New Book, New Blog: Russia’s Alien Nations

As some of you know, I spent a couple of years writing the first draft of “Plots against Russia: Conspiracy and Fantasy after Socialism” on my blog (plotsagainstrussia.org). Now that the book is coming out (from Cornell University Press, this March), I’m back to work on my next projects. And one of them is…another book whose rough draft will be posted on a blog.

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Researching Russian Conspiracy Theories in the Age of Trump

A funny thing happened to me while I was writing my book on conspiracy theory and contemporary Russia: my obscure little corner of Russian cultural studies suddenly threatened to become relevant. I started working on this topic somewhere during the George W. Bush presidency, but it took far too many years until I could hang up my own personal “Mission Accomplished” banner.  

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