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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Technological Utopias: Modernity and the Imagined Cityscapes of Early Twentieth-Century Russian Science Fiction

This presentation will focus on Russian culture in the first four decades of the twentieth-century. The presentation will demonstrate how technology, as utilized in urban space, was imagined in cultural productions, specifically utopian science-fiction literature. Science fiction literature, such as Valeri Bruisovís The Republic of the Southern Cross and Alexander Bogdanovís Red Star, is useful in that provides a medium for the uninhibited use of the imagination, specifically the ability to imagine future spaces and world scenarios. The presentation will suggest ways in which writers believed the experience of living in Russiaís modern metropolises could be shaped by the implementation of technological applications to daily life. These fictional depictions of alternative futures reflected contemporary questions and attitudes towards the role and effects of new technology. The presentation will also offer a historiographical overview of both the scholarly work on representations of utopian spaces and the built environment in Russian literature, and imaginary geography in modernist and Soviet culture. This field has thus far predominantly focused on the importance of national-scale representations of space, particularly in regards to the Russian frontier and periphery. The presentation suggests ways in which this literature shaped its urban readers expectations and understandings of their own surroundings. By bringing a new focus to urban form, this research will therefore offer new insights into our understanding of modernity in Russia. In exploring Russian hopes and fears for technology, this research forms a part of a broader discussion on the possibilities and perils presented by modernization.

Presenter: Aaron Rodenburg (Brock University) -- ar11qk@brocku.ca
Topic: History - Panel
Location: 127 Hartwell
Time: 9:30 am (Session I)