Marco Puleri, "Ukrainian, Russophone, (Other) Russian: Hybrid Identities and Narratives in Post-Soviet Culture and Politics" (Peter Lang, 2020)


Marco Puleri’s Ukrainian, Russophone, (Other) Russian: Hybrid Identities and Narratives in Post-Soviet Culture and Politics (Peter Lang, 2020) examines a complex process of identity formation in the context of exposure to a diversity of linguistic and cultural influences. Puleri zeroes in on contemporary Ukraine to explore the specificities of cultural overlapping and the power it exercises on the individual’s construction of self. As the title prompts, the emphasis is made on hybrid identities, which Puleri views from the perspective of epistemological multivalences. The discussion of the formation and function of hybrid identities is rooted not only in cultural and linguistic diversities, but also in complex historical and political processes.

In Ukrainian, Russophone, (Other) Russian, Puleri attempts to unravel entangled clusters that signal identity hybridity: the book offers an ample collection of instances that manifest the overlapping and collaboration of multiple narratives that construct various identities. The book discusses in detail the writers who write (or wrote) in Russian, but live in Ukraine. Puleri asks a legitimate question, to which it is hard to find an answer: how does one categorize such literature? Is it Russian? Even though it is not written in Russia and it is not written by writers who consider themselves Russians. Is it Ukrainian? It is not written in Ukrainian, but it is written by writers who identify themselves as Ukrainians. The question itself is further complicated by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which makes the question sensitive and at times uncomfortable. In Ukrainian, Russophone, (Other) Russian, Puleri considers a variety of aspects, attempting to delicately approach the question of hybrid identity, which in the present combination—Ukrainian and Russian components—may evoke further anxieties and complications.

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Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a Preceptor in Ukrainian at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures (Indiana University, 2022). She also holds a Ph.D. in American literature (Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2007). Her research interests include contested memory, with a focus on Ukraine and Russia. She is a review editor of H-Ukraine. Since 2016, she has been a host on the New Books Network (Ukrainian Studies, East European Studies, and Literary Studies channels).
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