Northern Illinois University Press


Interpreting Emotions in Russia and Eastern Europe

Mark D.  Steinberg Valeria  Sobol

A collection of essays on emotion spanning more than two centuries and several countries

“A significant collection that advances a key subject in an important regional history, it should also be of interest to comparativists.” —Peter N. Stearns, Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University

“This highly original manuscript takes Russian and East European histories along the ‘emotional turn,’ bringing them in line with western historiography.” —Louise McReynolds, Professor of History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bringing together important new work on emotions in Russia and Eastern Europe, this volume is both an innovative perspective on an important geographic region and a demonstration of the value of examining emotions to interpret the forces and experiences that shape us as both individuals and social beings. An inter-national, interdisciplinary group of leading scholars reaches across many countries and over more than two centuries to approach emotions as a phenomenon complexly intertwined with society, culture, politics, and history. The stories in this book involve sensitive aristocrats, committed revolutionaries, aggressive nationalists, political leaders, female victims of sexual violence, perpetrators and victims of Stalinist terror, citizens in the former Yugoslavia in the wake of war, workers in postsocialist Romania, Balkan Romani (“Gypsy”) musicians, and veterans of the Afghan and Chechen wars. Contributors study emotions as expressed in print and visual media, and in physical spaces, rituals, sounds, and gestures. Readers will find much attention to relations of self and society; feelings of belonging associated with ethnicity, religion, nation, class, and gender; questions about sincerity and authenticity of feeling but also evidence that emotion can be ritualized performance and structured according to forms, scripts, and norms; the agonies of loss and trauma and the pursuit of healing; and the mobilizing power of affection or hatred but also the drive to “manage” emotions so that order and power are not threatened. In a word, these studies explore emotional perception and expression not only as private, inward feeling but as a way of interpreting and judging a troubled world, acting in it, and perhaps changing it. Essential reading for those interested in new perspectives on the study of Russia and eastern Europe, past and present, this volume will appeal to all readers across the social science and humanities fields who are seeking new and deeper approaches to understanding human experience, thought, and feeling. Mark D. Steinberg is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and editor of the journal Slavic Review. His most recent books include Proletarian Imagination: Self, Modernity, and the Sacred in Russia, 1910–1925 and A History of Russia, with Nicholas Riasanovsky, 8th edition. Valeria Sobol is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and author of Febris Erotica: Lovesickness in the Russian Literary Imagination.

(2011) 14 illus., 306 pages ISBN: 978-0-87580-653-2 cloth $45.00

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