I am Assistant Professor in Literary and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and affiliated to the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). My work focuses on culture’s engagements with the past, with a special interest in the former socialist world, and in particular Russia.
In my monograph Post-Soviet Literature and the Search for a Russian Identity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) I analyze the ways in which recent Russian literature deals with vexed questions of national and cultural identity in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The book explores how Russian writers confront the country’s tumultuous recent history, and traces the advent of more patriotic conceptions of ‘Russianness’ in popular novels and stories of the Putin-era.
More recently, I have contributed to debates about nostalgia in the former socialist countries. In the volume Post-Soviet Nostalgia: Confronting the Empire’s Legacies (Routledge, 2019), co-edited with Ksenia Robbe and Otto Boele, I investigate political uses and abuses of nostalgic sentiments in popular culture. The volume also delves into less politicized forms of longing, that are rooted in local identities, or personal memories.
My other research interests include conspiracy theories and their current, global momentum in the spheres of politics and culture. I have written, for instance, on the figure of the (Soviet) spy, and its reappearance in Russian popular culture of the 2010s.
As of 2020 I am the academic director of the international summer program The Politics of Suspicion (Graduate School of Social Sciences, UvA), which explores contemporary issues of conspiracy thinking, distrust and disinformation from a wide range of disciplinary angles.