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 Problem with Johnson’s Russia List

This is not an antisemitic dogwhistle, it’s an antisemitic cowbell.

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Navalny and the Boxers Rebellion

There is no scenario in which a sentence containing the name “Putin” and the words “Navalny’s underwear” does the president any good.

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The Lincoln Project’s Red Scare

Russia always equals “communism,” even when that equation makes no sense whatsoever

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Forgetting Eduard Limonov: The New York Times’ Obituary Epic Fail

Limonov was most famous for gay sex and supporting Bosnian genocide, neither of which the NYT saw fit to mention

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Rereading Akunin: A Conversation with Eliot Borenstein

Fandorin is just not a joiner. And specifically, if there’s one principle to which he’s committed above all others, it’s this notion of “personal human dignity” and the individual’s prerogative to sequester themselves in their own preferences. Fandorin doesn’t want to work for the Okhranka or for any other part of the Imperial government, which he sees becoming increasingly brutal and unreasonable. He doesn’t want to be with the progressives, either; he just wants to be on his own. And what’s interesting is that, for him, the only path to true independence is to be insanely wealthy. It’s one big libertarian dream.

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The Devil Is No Match for Procedural Liberalism (Pelagia and the White Bulldog (Conclusion))

The rule of law is boring, but necessary

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Pelagia Descending into the Underworld (Pelagia and the White Bulldog 9)

Pelagia impersonates herself

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Brother 2: Son of Brother (Russia’s Alien Nations)

If we say (and show) enough times that there are no more questions that need to be asked about the nature and future of Russia, it will become true

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Brothers and Keepers (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Danila is a dangerous mixed metaphor: an empty vessel and a hired gun. 

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Heads, Lost and Found (Pelagia and the White Bulldog 8)

For a “tasteful” novel about a nun, Pelagia and the White Bulldog has a surprising predilection for dismemberment

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The Poet and the Crowd (Russia’s Alien Nations)

These identities belong to the world of urban folklore

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The Fandom Menace (Russia’s Alien Nations

Nationalism as fandom

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A Song of Orcs and Trolls (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Americans who are paranoid about Russian trolls are trolling themselves.

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Salting the Earth (Russia’s Alien Nations)

This is still fantasy, but it is neither that of Tolkien nor Warcraft.

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Plato’s Republic of Zavolshsk (Pelagia and the White Bulldog 6)

We’ve wandered onto territory somewhere between the Beiils Affair and the Pussy Riot trial

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Provincial Purity vs. Capital Crimes (Pelgaia and the White Bulldog 7)

Capitals destroy the soul.

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Orknash: Supporting the Home Team (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The Orc identity imagines rejection by the West, only to turn the Orc into an imaginary weapon against the West.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven (Pelagia and the White Bulldog 5)

Perhaps we’re all in some mirror universe episode of Scooby Doo, and Pelagia is Velma?

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The Tank Driver of Mordor (Russia’s Alien Nations)

Meet the Jeffrey Epstein of Middle Earth

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Off the Reservation (Russia’s Alien Nations)

The “Orc question” becomes much more provocative when seen in terms of internal cultural dynamics.

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