Being one of the most ethno-linguistic diverse regions in the world and a borderland between Asia and Europe, the Caucasus has always been a fertile field of research for linguists, anthropologists, and historians. More recently the collapse of the Soviet Union and the following events made this geographical area particularly interesting also for political scientists. Nevertheless, as noted by Gould, this area has been far less studied in the humanities (2013). In this respect, my paper aims to scrutinise issues concerning identity and identity construction in a selection of works by German Sadulaev (1973 -), a writer of Chechen origin who moved to St Petersburg in 1989. Issues concerning identity are of the utmost importance for authors from the North Caucasus, an area at the intersection of the remains of imperial colonialism, soviet past and global present, and inhabited by populations that are still nowadays considered as the internal “Other” by ethnic Russians. Therefore, the relationship with the imperial and soviet past, the endemic cultural tradition and contemporary globalisation, as well as its material manifestation in religion, culture, society and politics, also play a central role in the analysis of the texts. In a blank of methodology about this specific field, the study is conducted resorting to different methodological tools. Tools from Postcolonial Studies, in which identity issues are fundamental, are thought to be beneficial for the analysis. As a matter of fact, recently many scholars lamented that the post-soviet world is still studied through the Cold War categories (Gould, 2013; Chary and Verdery, 2011), and that the umbrella term post-soviet evens out profoundly different realities. For this reason, some suggest that integrating the field of post-soviet and postcolonial studies would be helpful in starting conceptualising the relation of post-imperial Russia and its former colonies (Tlostanova, 2003). However, as pointed out by several scholars (Tlostanova, 2003; Moore, 2001), any attempt to apply postcolonial theories to post-soviet realities should consider the two-faced nature of Russia, both coloniser and colonised. Therefore, concepts such as, for example, hybridity, unhomeliness, and orientalism will be used always bearing in mind the complex intersection of different kinds of dependence and coloniality which characterise this area. Moreover, since in many Sadulaev’s works the process of identity construction or fragmentation is deeply influenced by traumatic experiences, such as war or deportation, the analysis also benefits from tools offered by Trauma Studies. Trauma Studies, employing psychoanalytical theories to analyse how trauma is expressed in literary works, are indeed extremely useful in understanding collective and transgenerational traumas which shape North Caucasian identities.

Identity construction and fragmentation in contemporary Russophone literature by North Caucasian writers : the case of German Sadulaev / V. Marcati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno ASIAC Yearly Conference tenutosi a Roma nel 2020.

Identity construction and fragmentation in contemporary Russophone literature by North Caucasian writers : the case of German Sadulaev

V. Marcati
Primo
2020

Abstract

Being one of the most ethno-linguistic diverse regions in the world and a borderland between Asia and Europe, the Caucasus has always been a fertile field of research for linguists, anthropologists, and historians. More recently the collapse of the Soviet Union and the following events made this geographical area particularly interesting also for political scientists. Nevertheless, as noted by Gould, this area has been far less studied in the humanities (2013). In this respect, my paper aims to scrutinise issues concerning identity and identity construction in a selection of works by German Sadulaev (1973 -), a writer of Chechen origin who moved to St Petersburg in 1989. Issues concerning identity are of the utmost importance for authors from the North Caucasus, an area at the intersection of the remains of imperial colonialism, soviet past and global present, and inhabited by populations that are still nowadays considered as the internal “Other” by ethnic Russians. Therefore, the relationship with the imperial and soviet past, the endemic cultural tradition and contemporary globalisation, as well as its material manifestation in religion, culture, society and politics, also play a central role in the analysis of the texts. In a blank of methodology about this specific field, the study is conducted resorting to different methodological tools. Tools from Postcolonial Studies, in which identity issues are fundamental, are thought to be beneficial for the analysis. As a matter of fact, recently many scholars lamented that the post-soviet world is still studied through the Cold War categories (Gould, 2013; Chary and Verdery, 2011), and that the umbrella term post-soviet evens out profoundly different realities. For this reason, some suggest that integrating the field of post-soviet and postcolonial studies would be helpful in starting conceptualising the relation of post-imperial Russia and its former colonies (Tlostanova, 2003). However, as pointed out by several scholars (Tlostanova, 2003; Moore, 2001), any attempt to apply postcolonial theories to post-soviet realities should consider the two-faced nature of Russia, both coloniser and colonised. Therefore, concepts such as, for example, hybridity, unhomeliness, and orientalism will be used always bearing in mind the complex intersection of different kinds of dependence and coloniality which characterise this area. Moreover, since in many Sadulaev’s works the process of identity construction or fragmentation is deeply influenced by traumatic experiences, such as war or deportation, the analysis also benefits from tools offered by Trauma Studies. Trauma Studies, employing psychoanalytical theories to analyse how trauma is expressed in literary works, are indeed extremely useful in understanding collective and transgenerational traumas which shape North Caucasian identities.
Settore L-LIN/21 - Slavistica
Univesità di Roma La Sapienza
Osservatorio Asia Centrale e Caspio
Geopolitica.info
Associazione per lo Studio in Italia dell'Asia Centrale e del Caucaso
Identity construction and fragmentation in contemporary Russophone literature by North Caucasian writers : the case of German Sadulaev / V. Marcati. ((Intervento presentato al convegno ASIAC Yearly Conference tenutosi a Roma nel 2020.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/830931
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