WiP Series: The Postcolonial Contexts of 20th century Georgian Literature, April 11, 2012 – Bela Tsipuria (ENG)

The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), American Councils and American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) are pleased to announce the 11th Works-in-Progress talk of the Spring 2012 season!
Bela Tsipuria, Ilia State University

“The Postcolonial Contexts of 20th century Georgian Literature”
International School of Economics of Tbilisi (ISET)/CRRC Georgia

Zandukeli St. 16, downstairs Conference Hall
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 6:15 PM
The Postcolonial Contexts of 20th century Georgian LiteratureGeorgian literature of past two centuries can be seen as a mission-based, anti-colonial cultural reality which can be interpreted through the Postcolonial theoretical approaches. Georgia spent two centuries as a part of another state – the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and the USSR in most of the 20th. In Georgian social and cultural understanding, this period is characterized by colonial dependence on Russia. This dependent relationship influenced the whole cultural process and affected the specifics of cultural development. In Soviet times the whole cultural space, the National Narrative Culture was shaped with anti-Soviet/anti-colonial mission. Under the pressure of Soviet ideological control Georgian writers still managed to develop artistic/allegoric forms of resistance to Soviet/colonial regime, thus supporting the preservation of national identity. Poems and novels with clear national aspiration earned great social power, and influenced public moods and affections. The idea Georgia’s sovereignty and future state independence, suggested through allegorical figures and tropes, is the main connotation of literary texts within this space. On the other hand, the romantic vision of future was irrational and dim, since the collapse of the Soviet Union was not something foreseen and predicted. Thus the vision of future was indeed trailed by unreliability, uncertainty and anxiety. Consequently, National Narrative Culture contributed to the process of carrying out the idea of state independence, but was not able to prepare Georgian society to the new reality. As a result, in post-Soviet times the public still stayed oriented towards the irrational resistance and not toward the process of building new society. Considering the role of National Narrative Culture this can even explain why Georgian society occurred to be non-adapted to the new long-expected reality; the hidden cultural/societal ambivalence of colonial period was resulted into the open social controversy in post-Soviets.
Bela Tsipuria is a professor of comparative literature, and a director of the Institute of Comparative Literature at the Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. She earned her PH.D. from the Tbilisi State University, Georgia, were she has worked as an associate professor. In 2004-2008 she was a Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia. She was a research fellow at Lund University, Sweden; JFDP fellow at the Pennsylvania State University, USA; Thesaurus Poloniae fellow at the ICC, Krakow, Poland. She specializes in twentieth-century Georgian literature and comparative literature, with a focus of interculturalism, modernism and avant-garde movements, Soviet ideological influences and poscolonialism. She has written textbooks of Georgian literature for the use of Georgian high schools and some fifty research papers some of them available in English.
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place every Wednesday at the International School of Economics (ISET) building (16 Zandukeli Street). It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC).The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to wip@crrccenters.org.