In the West, Russia – through the prism of its leadership – is often imagined as a homogenous society and culture, symbolised by its great figures Dostoevsky, Tarkovsky, and others. In this lecture, I will examine the issue of diversity – ethnic and sexual – as revealed in the Russian language popular culture. The focus will be on representation of minorities in recent Russian cinema e.g., F. Mikhaillov’s Jolly Men, F. Bondarchuk’s Attraction, including film produced in ‘ethnic’ autonomous republics such as the Sakha Republic in Russia’s North East. On one level, the talk will provide a critical review of recent cultural production in the context of the Russian Federation—‘a federation of nations’—and transnational cultural exchange. On another, it will theorise the issues of ethnicity and sexuality which have determined recent social and political developments in Russia and Europe.
Vlad Strukov is an Associate Professor in Film and Digital Culture (University of Leeds). He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen. He specialises in world cinemas, visual culture, digital media, intermediality and cultural theory. He explores theories of empire and nationhood, global journalism and grassroots media, consumption and celebrity. He is the author of Contemporary Russian Cinema: Symbols of a New Era, ‘Memory and Securitization in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Popular Geopolitics: Plotting an Evolving Interdiscipline‘, and many other publications on the arts and culture in the twenty-first century. He is the founding and principal editor of an international journal, ‘Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media (www.digitalicons.org)’. He also works as a film and art curator and makes regular appearances in international media such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, American Public Radio, RBK and others. He is currently completing a book project entitled Russian Culture in the Era of Globalisation.