June 15, 2024


Nov 12, 2024
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Virtual Event

Book Talk- Soviet Born: The Afterlives of Migration in Jewish American Fiction

Free with RSVP
Online via Zoom

In 2010, when The New Yorker published a list of twenty writers under the age of forty who were “key to their generation,” it included five Jewish-identified writers, two of whom—American Gary Shteyngart and Canadian David Bezmozgis—were Soviet-born. This publicity came after nearly a decade of English-language literary output by Soviet-born writers of all genders in North America. Soviet-Born: The Afterlives of Migration in Jewish American Fiction traces the impact of these now numerous authors—among others, David Bezmozgis, Boris Fishman, Keith Gessen, Sana Krasikov, Ellen Litman, Gary Shteyngart, Anya Ulinich, and Lara Vapnyar—on major coordinates of the Jewish American imaginary.

Entering an immigrant, Soviet-born standpoint creates an alternative and sometimes complementary pattern of how the Eastern and Central European past and present resonate with American Jewishness. The novels, short stories, and graphic novels considered here often stage strikingly fresh variations on key older themes, including cultural geography, the memory of World War II and the Holocaust, communism, gender and sexuality, genealogy, and finally, migration. Soviet-Born demonstrates how these diasporic writers, with their critical stance toward identity categories, open up the field of what is canonically Jewish American to broader contemporary debates.

Karolina Krasuska is an associate professor at the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw, Poland, and a founding member of its Gender/Sexuality Research Group. She is a coeditor of Women and the Holocaust: New Perspectives and Challenges and the Polish translator of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble


Online via Zoom