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Russian Israeli Culture in the Middle Eastern Context
This book project examines Russian-Israeli writing as a hybrid phenomenon informed by its transitional position between metropolitan Russian and Middle Eastern cultural contexts. It aims to articulate the parameters of Russian-Israeli literature (since the 1970s to present); explore its transnational character; discuss its artistic responses to terrorism, wars, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islam, Judaism, Arab Nationalism, Zionism, and Post-Zionism; and investigate its critical and often provocative treatment of Israeli liberal discourses and cultural politics. This will be the first comparative and interdisciplinary study of contested cultural identities in Israel focusing on the implicit dialogue between three of its vibrant but disconnected literatures—Russian, Hebrew and Arabic. In particular, it will emphasize the ways in which two marginalized and often overlooked Israeli literary traditions (Russian and Arabic) displace the Hebrew literary ‘mainstream’ and offer alternative perspectives on regional realities (ideological, geopolitical and linguistic). The study of the interface between Russian, Hebrew and Arab writers in Israel, which has not yet been subjected to academic reflection, will test the potential and the limits of cross-cultural communication, while drawing out the similarity of thematic, stylistic and rhetorical repertoires. Turning to prose, poetry and non-fiction that negotiate exile, return, land, terrorism, Jerusalem, and linguistic identity as a site of power and competition, this book will examine how shared poetic language and literary practices can promote dialogue often absent in political, social or military encounters.
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