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About this talk: The Russian novel has been traditionally regarded as the novel of ideas, in which the conflicting views on the national identity and Russia’s relationship with the “other” are presented in the dramatized narrative. After Mikhail Bakhitn’s pioneering ideas of dialogism and polyphony of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novels it became especially common to view the novel as a balanced dramatization of conflicts among polar opposites. In my ongoing research project on the network analysis of Russian realist and modernist novels, I approach the character networks as models of an emerging liberal society which, on the one hand, captured the socio-political trends of the time and, on the other, provided Russian society with ideas on how to shape a horizontal, heterarchical structure of social structure. The different network shapes of the Russian novels from realism to modernism correspond to the underlying aesthetic and social changes of the Russian society before and after the revolution of 1917.
About this speaker: Yuliya Ilchuk’s research interests fall under the broad heading of cultural exchange, interaction, and borrowing between Russia and Ukraine. Her first book, Nikolai Gogol: Performing Hybrid Identity (University of Toronto Press, 2021), revises Gogol’s identity and texts as ambivalent and hybrid by situating them in the in-between space of Russian and Ukrainian cultures. In her ongoing research projects and teaching, she integrates traditional humanistic approaches to the text with computer assisted methods. Some of her recent projects include distant network analysis of the Russian realist novels as models of the emerging liberal society; geo-spatial analysis of the post-Soviet transformation of the city as a rhizome with multiple, non-hierarchical relationship between the old and new urban cultures; a study of Ukrainian atomopolises as spaces for the intensive implementation of lost utopian Socialist ideals; and a study of memory and space in protracted displacement in contemporary Ukrainian literature and film on/by refugees.