Comparative literature, comparative history
Transnational feminist studies, gender studies
East Asian Studies (Japan), Inner Asian & Altaic Studies (Kazakhstan)
Slavic and Eurasian studies with a special focus on soviet cultural history
Culture & Politics, cultural studies, hybridity
Critical race theory
Decolonial thinking, postcolonial studies
Red Feminisms: Transcultural Perspectives & Hybrid Identities
This project compares postcolonial and postsocialist intersections of gender and empire with the aim of reassessing and reorienting the conceptual framework of transnational feminist studies. The discipline, in its current trajectory, is unable to foster a truly transnational and cross-regional feminist solidarity, because it ignores multiple positionalities and intersectional experiences of women from (post)socialist/(post)communist spaces. I use a comparative method to underscore ‘hybridity’ in both the political and the personal dimensions of the red feminist movement. I argue that ‘hybridity’, in the context of world communism, pertains not just to the fusion of ideas and agendas of different ‘local’ actors, but also to the difference in subject positions that determines/subverts the power dynamics between these actors. Namely, I examine how the historical positioning of colonial empires, such as (Soviet) Russia and Japan, determined the various strategies of inclusion and affirmation in both the politics and culture of red feminisms; how local specificities in language and context shaped the various ‘enunciations’ of gender within the movement; and how the task of ‘liberation’, in the Marxist-Leninist context of the revolutionary vanguard/women and the oppressed masses/women, complicated the relations of power, agency, and representation. In addition to scrutinizing the social and political implications of the world communist movement from a gendered perspective, this project draws attention to the cultural impact of this movement through an analysis of literature, cinema, literary histories, scientific texts, and periodical publications that formed the basis of transnational exchange and cross-border connections.
Founded as a graduate program in 1904 and joining with the undergraduate Literature Concentration in 2007, Harvard’s Department of Comparative Literature operates at the crossroads of multilingualism, literary study, and media history.