Research

My monograph, Superfluous Women: Feminism, Art, and Revolution in 21st c. Ukraine, explores the gender politics and new forms within emerging Ukrainian artists' distinctive appropriations of past canonical works in 19-20th century Slavic and Soviet literature, painting, and photography. Analyzing firsthand interviews, visual art, literature, official speeches and other material, I demonstrate how several contemporary collectives in Kyiv have put the human body at the center of wide transformations taking place within and across two revolutions in the 2000s. The controversial term "feminism" is partially a product of its difficult translation across cultural contexts, especially the old Cold War divides as they are challenged and renegotiated by intellectuals and activists transatlantically. While individuals and groups in my study argue for a range of causes tied to gender and to sexuality, my project’s central concern is the body as an ideological site which evolves through social interactions taking place in public aesthetic exchanges, and how image and text come to acquire historical meaning.

I trace points of connection between several artists' works past and present who are experimenting with the grammar of postcommunism; in particular, the legacies of the early European avant-gardes, socialist realism, and postmodernism wherever these discourses come to bear upon concepts of censorship, autonomy, and progress. I employ critical theories of democracy with methods from anthropology and new media in order to trace a narrative that bridges prior local and global dialogues with new perspectives in transnational civic vocabularies on gender and human rights.