Notes from the Manosphere, Part II



The “age of rage,” a term dating to the 2010s, when the online culture wars began, is in full flower today. Reading Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground” from our contemporary vantage point offers a warning about social fragmentation as a precursor for angry, megalomaniacal fantasies and rising chauvinism. Analyzing the Underground Man’s reactions shows that this often directionless rage is a coping mechanism that compensates for profound feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, despair, and loss of status.

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Notes from the Manosphere, Part I



“I am a sick man…I am a wicked man,” says the Underground Man, the anti-hero of Dostoevsky’s 1864 novel. Narrated by a disillusioned man who fails to fit into societal norms, Notes from Underground exposes the seamy underbelly of Russian society by showcasing the deep resentment certain individuals feel for both themselves and their social “betters.” If this narrative sounds familiar, it is because there is an entire radical movement online centered on this same resentment.

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A Push for Digital History in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies



My research examines German prisoners-of-war (POWs) in the USSR from 1941 to 1956. My dissertation, which I am currently transforming into a book manuscript, treats the reasons that Soviets held POWs for so long after war’s end. On the basis of digital historical methods, I argue that Soviet authorities detained German POWs as a labor source for postwar reconstruction.

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In Russian Cultural Policy, the Customer is Always Wrong



Olga Lyubimova’s appointment as Russia’s new minister of culture in early 2020 was an immediate scandal. In old LiveJournal posts that surfaced on social media, she boldly declared an aversion to ballet, museums, arthouse cinema, and a dozen other types of culture. “I unexpectedly came to realize,” she wrote at the time, “That I am in no freaking way a cultured person.”

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Saving a Tatar Communist From Stalinist and Cold-War Historiographies: The Political Economy of Nations



Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev (1892-1940) was a communist, an anti-colonial revolutionary, and a devout Muslim. Born in the Bashkir village of Elembet’evo in Ufa, he was raised in a family of mixed socioeconomic backgrounds: his mother a member of the nobility, and his father a peasant following Ismail Gasprinskii’s movement of reformist Muslim thought, jadidism. Joining the revolution in 1917, Sultan-Galiev saw Bolshevism as a gateway to freeing colonized lands.
Today, his name has been obscured by two clashing, yet mutually reinforcing narratives.

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The Dialectical Images of Russian History



When university students are first introduced to the discipline of history, it is often as a practice of grand narratives – the surveying and engineering of broad explanatory models about the past. But what space do we give in the classroom to more minute critical labors – siftings through the debris of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian centuries; the historian as collector, or humble ragpicker?

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Steppe School: The Late Russian Empire and Kazakh Agriculture



In 1894, Vasily A. Saenko arrived in the small town of Zaisan in what is today far eastern Kazakhstan to take charge of the Zaisan Kazakh Agricultural School. For several years, the school had suffered from changing leadership and poor management. Saenko would begin to enact a program of reform that he hoped would extend far beyond the classroom and serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the local Kazakh nomads into settled farmers.

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Navalny, NFTs, and the New Arena for Political Dissent



NFTs or “non-fungible tokens” grant their purchasers ownership over a form of digital media. Like Bitcoin, NFTs are recorded on a blockchain to promote transparency and enhance security. Unlike various forms of cryptocurrency, NFTs are unique and not interchangeable, which solidifies their virtual rarity. While NFTs can theoretically represent a variety of digital assets, most recently they have been used in the sale of digital art.

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In Memory of Stephen Cohen



Earlier this year, our friend and colleague Stephen Cohen passed away. His contributions to the field of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies will be felt for years to come. Professor Cohen was a historian, but his legacy extends far beyond his scholarly work. Every year, the Stephen Cohen Fellowship — established on Professor Cohen’s initiative and supported by Katrina vanden Heuvel and the Kat Foundation — funds the graduate education for master’s students in the Department of Russian & Slavic Studies at NYU. Professor Cohen has also helped enable doctoral students to conduct dissertation research in Russia through the Cohen-Tucker Fellowship. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we give thanks to Stephen Cohen for not only his work in the REEES field but for the generosity he, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and the Kat Foundation have shown to budding Russia scholars. We honor him today by publishing the testimonials of some of current and former students who have benefitted from Cohen Fellowships.

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