Volume 79 Number 1 Abstracts

Disrupting Boundaries between Traditional and Transnational Islam: Pious Women’s Engagement with Islamic Authority in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Andreja Mesarič

The contemporary Islamic landscape in Bosnia-Herzegovina is often depicted as marked by fault lines between different Muslim groups, many of which are described as products of foreign intervention. This paper argues that this image does not reflect the multiplicity of Islamic discourses and practices, and the many ways that Bosnian Muslims engage with, promote, and resist them on the ground. It explores how pious Muslim women can move between different approaches to Islam over time, engage with a range of Islamic actors simultaneously, and draw on their teachings selectively or situationally without necessarily claiming group membership. By engaging with a range of actors making competing claims to authority, women contribute to both the pluralization of Islamic authority and the continued relevance of authoritative actors. The paper argues that paying attention to pious women’s practices allows us to challenge crude characterizations of the transformations of Islam in Bosnia and question the narrative of distinct Muslim groups at odds with each other.

Anti-Muslim Fear Narrative and the Ban on Said Nursi’s Works as “Extremist Literature” in Russia

Mustafa Tuna

This article analyzes the causes and consequences of Islamophobia in the Russian Federation following the story of the Russian ban on the works of a scholar of Islam from Turkey, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1878–1960), despite the overall positive reception of his ideas and followers by Russia’s Muslims. It positions Russia’s existing domestic anti-Muslim prejudices, which evolved in the contexts of the Chechen conflict and the influx of migrant workers from culturally Muslim former Soviet republics to cosmopolitan Russian cities, against the background of the post-9/11 global fear narrative about Muslims. These Islamophobic attitudes in turn informed and justified anti-Muslim policies in Russia, as the Russian state, following broader trends of centralization and illiberalization in the country, abandoned the pluralist policies toward religion of the early post-Soviet years and reverted to the late-Soviet model of regulation and containment in the past two decades.

Between Sound and Silence: The Failure of the “Symphony of Sirens” in Baku (1922) and Moscow (1923)

Daniel Schwartz

This article aims to temper the myth of the sound and scale of Arsenii Avraamov’s citywide mass spectacle the “Symphony of Sirens”—a myth that has been largely unquestioned in English-language sound and urban studies scholarship on the symphony. Instead of focusing solely on the symphony’s dreaded noise, I pay attention to the symphony’s silence—to the limits of what can be known about its sounds. Drawing on Avraamov’s untranslated writings and personal correspondences, I investigate how the symphony’s ideal of proletarian unity collides with the geographic, social, and sonic reality of the cities it sought to compose. I then investigate the roots of this ideal Abstracts ix in Avraamov’s personal aesthetic philosophy, as well as his idiosyncratic views on mechanical reproduction. This article will be of interest to those who wish to explore the connections between urbanism, colonialism, sound technology, the mass spectacle, and mass media in the Soviet musical avant-garde.


The Filmmaker in Wartime: Sergei Eisenstein Inside and Out

Joan Neuberger

In 1941, Sergei Eisenstein had a decision to make. Iosif Stalin commissioned him to make a film about Ivan the Terrible, and in the months that followed he vacillated about how to depict the bloody tyrant. The Nazi invasion in June temporarily distracted him from work on the film, but by the time he was evacuated to Alma Ata in October, Eisenstein was committed to making the defiantly unorthodox, transgressive film that we have. What changed? The bombing of Moscow in July compelled Eisenstein to reflect on his public and private responsibilities and on individualism and collectivism in ways that complicated those categories and clarified his determination to make Ivan the Terrible a serious study of political power and violence. His diary from this period contributes a first-hand account of the bombing, and shows us Eisenstein’s thinking about the political implications of interior and exterior at this critical stage in his life and work. This text, unpublished and unintended for publication, gives us a voice and a spectrum of positions that we have not heard before on this key set of discourses in Soviet history.

Keywords: Eisenstein, diary, Ivan the Terrible, WWII, Moscow bombing, public/private

Experience as Device: Traces of Russian Formalism in the Ljubljana School

Kaitlyn Tucker Sorenson

Russian Formalism and the Ljubljana School are two of the most influential Slavic contributions to global critical theory. Yet, cast as the prolegomena and coda of the short twentieth century’s groundswell of critical theory, these two theoretical movements are rarely considered in tandem. This article seeks to challenge that perception on both historical and theoretical grounds. It begins by documenting the introduction of Russian Formalism to Slovene literary criticism, and then traces how the early Ljubljana School, while developing its own theoretical platform, was exposed to certain Formalist principles. After chronicling this historical encounter, the article concludes by considering how these two strains of Slavic critical theory might most productively intertwine, and proposes new ways of encountering Russian Formalism in the Ljubljana School.

Boomerangs and Bombs: The Zagreb School of Animation and Yugoslavia’s Third Way Experiment

Paul Morton

The Zagreb School of Animation, one of the great achievements of Yugoslav culture, produced hundreds of films from the 1950s to the early 1990s. This paper studies the early development of the Zagreb School and the films that satirized the universal concerns of the post-World War II landscape: industrialization, militarism, x Slavic Review environmentalism, nuclear annihilation, and urban alienation, as well as the conforming pressures of commercialization and mass culture. This paper argues that the Zagreb School, which was made up neither of dissidents nor propagandists, breaks many of the stereotypes about artists in the dictatorial states of central and eastern Europe. Its approach to the animation medium is adjacent to the two most important features of Yugoslavia’s Third Way experiment: the development of workers’ self-management and a commitment to internationalism. The paper places the Zagreb School in this historical context with a formalist analysis of Boris Kolar’s Bumerang (Boomerang, 1962).


Academics Executed on the Wulecki Hills in L΄viv: From a Local Wartime Crime to a Translocal Memory Event

Eleonora Narvselius and Igor Pietraszewski

In 2011, a monument commemorating a group of Polish academics killed during the Nazi occupation was unveiled at the site of their death in L΄viv, presently a Ukrainian city. This event became the pinnacle of a commemoration that had developed quite autonomously on both sides of the redrawn Polish-(Soviet)Ukrainian border. The commemorative project and memory event underpinning it are especially interesting owing to the partial recuperation of links with the prewar local genealogies of the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. This article explores how a special historic occurrence that took place in wartime L΄viv/Lwów became an issue of continual political significance invested with different truth, originality, and identity claims in Poland and Ukraine. The authors focus on various actors who managed to transform memory about the murdered academics into a public commemorative project and elevate the role of translocal links in the successful realization of the commemorative initiative in question. The concluding part summarizes principal lessons pertaining to commemoration of perished population groups in east-central European borderlands that might be drawn on the basis of the discussed case.

Keywords: Polish-Ukrainian borderland, commemorations, translocal links, WWII, intelligentsia