Investigating the genesis of the prosecuted "crimes" and implied sins of the female performing group Pussy Riot, the most famous Russian feminist collective to date, the essays in Transgressive Women in Modern Russian and East European Cultures: From the Bad to Blasphemous examine what constitutes bad social and political behavior for women in Russia, Poland, and the Balkans, and how and to what effect female performers, activists, and fictional characters have indulged in such behavior. The chapters in this edited collection argue against the popular perceptions of Slavic cultures as overwhelmingly patriarchal and Slavic women as complicit in their own repression, contextualizing proto-feminist and feminist transgressive acts in these cultures. Each essay offers a close reading of the transgressive texts that women authored or in which they figured, showing how they navigated, targeted, and, in some cases, co-opted these obstacles in their bid for agency and power. Topics include studies of how female performers in Poland and Russia were licensed to be bad (for effective comedy and popular/box office appeal), analyses of how women in film and fiction dare sacrilegious behavior in their prescribed roles as daughters and mothers, and examples of feminist political subversion through social activism and performance art.
Table of Contents
[Yana Hashamova, Beth Holmgren and Mark Lipovetsky]
Section One: Performing Bad Behavior
1. From the Legs Up: The Rise and Retreat of the Chorus Girl in Interwar Poland
2. Un/Taming the Unruly Woman: From Melodramatic Containment to Carnivalistic Utopia
[Elena Prokhorova and Alexander Prokhorov]
3. Performing History as a Story: Faina Ranevskaia and the Art of Remembering
4. The Gesture of Alterity: Renata Litvinova and the Mediation of Contemporary Russian Sensibility
Section Two: Committing Sacrilege
5. Talking Back and More: Women’s Subversive Behavior in Bulgarian and Bosnian Films
6. "How Long Can You Go Crushing Bones, I Ask You?": The "Bad Mother" in Liudmila Petrushevskaia’s The Time: Night
[Mark Lipovetsky and Tatiana Mikhailova]
7. Women Who Eat Too Much: Consuming Female Bodies in Polish Cinema
8. Bad Mothers in Russian Children’s Literature After 1991: Alcoholism, Neglect, and the Problem of Post-Socialist Realism
Section Three: Politicizing Bad Behavior
9. Femen, A Litmus
10. Beating Around the Bush: Pussy Riot and the Anatomy of the Body Politic
11. Bad Girls, Apocalyptic Beasts, Redemption: A Tribute to Helena Goscilo
[Nadezhda Azhgikhina and Irina Sandomirskaia]
Yana Hashamova is Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University.
Beth Holmgren is Professor of Polish and Russian Literatures and Cultures in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University, and also holds secondary appointments in Theater Studies and Women’s Studies.
Mark Lipovetsky is Professor and Chair of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Colorado-Boulder.