WRLD ARTS 98T – Post-Socialist Performance
Mondays, 6-8:50pm, Kaufman 153
“Workers of the world, unite!” - Karl Marx
“The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth” - Che Guevara
“Fascism is capitalism in decay” - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
These slogans speak to us from a world that no longer exists. For over forty years, nearly half of the world’s governments identified as socialist. But in the 1990s, this second world came crashing down as most of the world’s socialist governments collapsed. The period that follows, and which continues through today, has been dubbed “the postsocialist transition.” In this seminar, students dig into the significance of this transition for artists and theorists in the region. What does it mean to be stuck in a permanent state of transition? What happens to people’s memories of revolution? Students will be introduced to key texts on postsocialism and postcolonialism, view music videos, performance art, films, and video art made by artists from the region, as well as speak with some of the artists themselves. Studying regions of the world that are too-often neglected in American classrooms, including Central Asia, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, students will learn to complicate some of the most common binaries through which we see the world: east/west, global north/global south, and first world/third world.
Christina Novakov-Ritchey is a theorist and performance artist from Berkeley, California. Currently a Ph.D Candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, her research deals with peasant epistemologies, rural ecologies, coloniality, and socialist modernity in the Yugoslav region. As a core member of the Dialoguing Posts Network, she is also engaged in organizing decolonial projects on the postsocialist left. She has most recently written for About Performance, KAJET Journal, and Anthropology of East Europe Review.
Image 1: Tania Bruguera, Tatlin's Whisper #6