Russian Academy of Sciences Arbatov Institute of the USA and Canada Studies
The Society of American Culture Studies
The XLIX International Conference Abstracts
«Ways to Success in American Culture»
Moscow, November 29 – December 3, 2023
Editorial team: Oksana Danchevskaya, Elena Kornilova, Alexey Matveyev, Boris Maximov, Andrey Ruskin, Nadezhda Shvedova,
Editor: Larisa Mikhaylova
Chris T. Cartwright, MPA, EdD
Portland State University, Oregon, USA
An Interculturalist’s Perspective on Ways to Success in American Culture
The United States is emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic a deeply fractious society. We seem to be recovering economically, but very unevenly. Politically we are often contentious and disappointed. Culturally and socially, we are often anxious and discontented, especially for those not in the majority racially, ethically, gender identity, ability, and socio-economically class in terms of order and fairness.
No one discipline or perspective can do justice to the complexity we are experiencing in the US at this time. As an interculturalist, a scholar and consultant most focused on the ebbs and flows of communication and engagement across difference, I can offer a perspective on how culture and intercultural competence is impacting this unique time.
Chris Cartwright, MPA, Ed.D.is an assessment consultant, trainer, and instructor supporting individuals and organizations in assessing and developing inclusion, intercultural, and global competencies. He has 40+ years of experience in multiple sectors. He assesses, consults, coaches, trains, teaches, and researches regionally, nationally, and internationally in areas of inclusive and global leadership development, intercultural competency, assessment and evaluation, and social justice. He is an associate of the Connective Leadership Institute, the Kozai Group, icEdge, and Aperian Global.
He is an adjunct faculty for the Portland State University, Minerva, as well as Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and Pepperdine University. He recently served as Director of Intercultural Assessment and Associate Director of the Graduate Program for the Intercultural Communication Institute for 10 years. Prior to this work, he has served as the Dean of Academic Programs for the International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership.
Section 1. USA Journalism
Coordinator Dr. Andrey Ruskin
(Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
December 2, 2023
- Darya Yeremina, Dobrolyubov Nizhny Novgorod State Linguistic University, Russia
The Role of Journalists in the Struggle for Women’s Rights
The struggle for women’s rights has a long history in American culture. Women are an integral part of American culture. They occupy high positions in business, politics, science, art and other fields. There are many moments in American history when journalists covered issues related to gender inequality, violence and discrimination. From simple misogyny to opening up new opportunities for women in professional journalism.
This question is undoubtedly an important element of the path to success and development in American culture. How exactly does journalism bring about successful changes in American culture, revealing the concept of “woman” as an independent and self-sufficient person? In my report we will look at how journalists in different periods of history used their positions to fight for women’s rights. Specific examples of the work of journalists will be considered. Contemporary challenges related to gender inequality and the role of journalism in combating them will also be discussed.
- Nikolai Zykov, Department of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Success stories in the materials of the Voice of America
The topic of success in various fields of activity is regularly covered by the oldest international broadcaster of the United States of America. One of its most important tasks, along with information about current events in the United States and in the world, is to tell about various aspects of American life. Professional success or success in business is an informational occasion for editorial staff, a criterion for choosing the heroes of their materials. The broadcaster’s charter stipulates the task of telling about American ideals and public institutions. The desire to achieve success is one of the national traits of Americans. Especially often there were materials about the successes of Russian-speaking immigrants in the profession, in business, and politics. Gender issues were not spared either. Recently there was a series of programs about successful women. These materials enjoyed success among listeners, but revealed in a new way the peculiarities of work and life of Americans.
- Irina Isakova, Freelance researcher, Moscow, Russia
Evolution of the Theory of Success and its Role in Foreign Policy Coverage: from Containment to Competitive Endurance
The legacy of George Kennan’s theory of success that has been the core of the deterrence strategy and containment policy since WWII (especially between 1948-1991) is being challenged. A new theory of success is called the Competitive Endurance. It was introduced by the Chief of space operations USSF General B. Chance Saltzman in February 2023. The theory was presented as a necessity to properly identify new missions, RoE and development plans for the US Space Force in space domain and beyond.
Competitive Endurance is an evolving strategic concept. If the classic strategy of containment was focused around the theory of success and notion of fear as an essential element of MAD doctrine, the new strategy is presented as a process “vulnerability – protected vulnerability – invulnerability”.
The public and experts’ debates of this theory showed a wider meaning of the concept as a certain theoretical corridor/pattern for the US strategy development in a multipolar world, in a context of the contested competition with China and the acute state of relations with Russia. The Competitive Endurance has a bipartisan support and will form the US foreign, military and domestic policy decisions after 2024 Presidential elections. The Competitive Endurance already proved to have an impact on geopolitical choices for alliances, education and training, best executive practices and leadership models. The new theory of success could be a useful tool – matrix & matrices – for policy assessments and news coverage.
- Elena Lioznova, Department of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The Monroe Doctrine success: social and political debates in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century
The question of the meaning and scope of the Monroe Doctrine in the early 20th century caused a great resonance in American society, with representatives of the scientific community, prominent public and political figures expressing their views on this issue. This presentation discusses the debates about the Monroe Doctrine in the American academic community during the years of World War I. Based on the works of American historians, conference materials, and public speeches related to the historical period under consideration, the author concludes that the discussions about the Monroe Doctrine during World War I not only concerned issues of foreign policy, national and regional security, but also aspects related to the problem of national identity.
- Svetlana Orekhova-Tibbits, Tibbits Foundation, Washington, USA
Elon Musk as a communicator
Elon Musk is today’s innovator whose dream of Mars puts him on the front line of achievements in contemporary technologies as continuation of such human beings intellectual activities as Mars Project / Vision of Mars (the Planetary Society, CA+NASA, 1995); publishing the first-ever anthology of Canadian science fiction “Other Canadas”, ed. by John Robert Colombo, 1979; Summit H2M (Washington, 2019), Jack Anderson / Alexander Serebrov international conference young astronauts (Washington DC, 1996). There is a different reflection of experiences between Elon Musk / Alexander Serebrov (Guinness World Records).
- Andrey Ruskin, Department of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Success Stories Covered by US Local Daily Newspapers in 2023
The USA still remains in the minds of a significant part of Americans as the country which can allow them to realize their life purposes, such as, for instance, the desire for personal wealth, for spiritual and religious freedom, for self-realization in society. The constant problem of illegal migrants on the South American border also indicates that despite all the difficulties and Risks, a large flow of residents of disadvantaged countries still seeks to get into the United States. Migration “waves” continue, they, as in previous centuries, “roll” on American shores.
The US daily press remains a means of reflecting local processes on the state level, and in large states, significant inside regions, although local news are also covered nowadays by the parallel digital environment: users’ accounts, group chats, and community forums.
The conducted research of local daily newspapers (their electronic versions) had the aim to find materials that reflected all kinds of success stories of Americans in various aspects: successful business, socially significant action with a high social result, achievements in creativity and culture. The 2023 publications in newspaper-type dailies in all 50 US states were selected for this study. The research allowed to find out that some Americans still have a desire for self-realization, for leadership, for success, which could be illuminated in all sorts of aspects: in business and political activities; in sport and creativity; in significant and vital public projects.
- Fedor Serdotetsky, Department of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The Cult of Success in American Social Networks
The topic of the report is the cult of success formed by media in social networks. The author of the report found that the cult of success promoted by the media was primarily viewed by the scientific community mainly in the context of traditional media and non-social Internet platforms. However, the role of social networks today is significant, so it is necessary to study the tools and principles used by digital content creators specifically on them. In addition, the study paid attention to the role of the audience itself in creating the cult of success.
The relevance of the study is due to the very strong transformation of the digital environment, which, moreover, continues to be carried out continuously, since the role of social networks in the everyday life of an individual has significantly increased. The author of the report found that social networks such as YouTube, Telegram, Twitch and others have become a stronghold for content makers who promote ideas and values that glorify the image lifestyle. That is, the media, using the technological capabilities of social networks (complex multimedia content, the availability of high interactivity) create cultural attitudes that not only have an effect on their subscribers, but also change the format of communication within the audience itself, which thus leads to the emergence of new communication models.
The novelty of the study lies in a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the impact of media that form the cult of success on the audience specifically on social networks. The study also focuses on the interaction between content makers and their subscribers, since a high level of interactivity is one of the key features of social networks. The main chronological framework of scientific work ranges from June 1 to November 1, 2023.
The purpose of the study is to identify and describe new methods for creating a cult of success in social networks. The hypothesis of this study is the idea that the tools unique to social platforms make it possible to influence audiences more intensely and therefore introduce various behavioral stereotypes more strongly. To conduct the study, 15 accounts on foreign social networks were selected. To select profiles, the author focused on the top levels of subscriber engagement.
The study proved that social networks provide an opportunity to successfully broadcast certain ideas and values, including the cult of success.
- Yelena Sokurenko, Department of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Cross-cultural analysis of American and Russian Advertising Narratives (on the example of the Gooogle brand)
Today, in the context of globalization, international brands face a difficult task: they need to maintain their individuality while adapting to the national culture of the target audience.
To create effective advertising messages, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of perception of symbols in advertising and their choice, taking into account the national worldview of individuals.The study of advertising text and its pragmatic potential to influence the value systems of the target audience can be carried out within the framework of semiotics and the theory of archetypes.
Considering advertising as a sociocultural phenomenon, as part of the study, we conducted a cross-cultural analysis of advertising videos for the international brand Google (product – search engine), created for two countries: Russia and the USA in the period from 2017 to 2022.
The results demonstrated that adaptation of brand advertising occurs at the level of archetype selection. In advertising created for the American market, the leading archetypes are “Seeker” and “Creator”. The heroes of these archetypes are characterized by a desire for self-realization and freedom, individualism and the desire to succeed are clearly expressed.
In commercials made for Russia, the “Caring” and “Seeker” archetypes predominate: on the one hand, the search for oneself and one’s calling in life is important for Russians, on the other hand, they highly value the interests of the family and society into which they are integrated.
Analysis of the deep structures of the narratives of advertising videos made it possible to identify oppositions of values and compare them. The results of the analysis also demonstrate cultural differences. For example, the value of “self-realization” in American advertising is actualized through the idea of “being different from everyone else, gaining uniqueness,” while in Russia this value means for the heroes “becoming a professional, being a part of society.”
In general, it should be noted that advertising for the Google search engine corresponds to the cultural values of both Russians and Americans, however, advertising made for a Russian audience reflects Russian discourses much weaker than American advertising reflects US discourses.
- Egor Shapovalov, Department of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Importance of Historical Elucidation as the consistent author’s approach in modern documentary cinema (Analysis of Downfall: the case against Boeing (2022), dir. Rory Kennedy)
Artistic method is essential for many genres of documentary cinema. However, its importance is not so obvious in the case of investigative films. Among the main requirements for such films is objectiveness of analysis. Film Downfall. The case against Boeing directed by a recognized documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy is an example of conceptual approach that does not interfere with the factual accuracy.
The review examines narrative techniques by which the author interprets Boeing’s history of success, correlating it with the recent tragic events. Mistakes of the company’s leadership, which resulted in two plane crashes in 2018 and 2019, had been widely reported by the media in the USA and other countries. These mistakes had also been the subject of Congressional investigation during 2019-2020. However, the author conducted her own investigation and created a more comprehensive and in-depth picture of events.
Analysis of R. Kennedy’s method in comparison with other modern director’s approaches resulted in the following conclusion. Author’s concept in documentary is most expressively manifested in the narrative structure. It allows revealing implicit meaning in well-known facts and media stories. Expressive editing tools also help to maintain emotional contact with the audience while clarifying technical details.
Author’s approach to interpretation of recent facts in the context of Boeing’s history is particularly interesting. The director analyzes in detail Boeing’s long path to establishing reputation for success and reliability. Author’s key point is that production culture in the company declined due to the changed criteria for success. Management neglected quality standards for the sake of such ephemeral goal as position in the stock market. Author’s creative method allowed comparing the company media image with the findings of her investigation.
Section 2. American Culture of the 17th-19th Centuries
Coordinator Dr. Boris Maksimov
(Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
November 30, Thursday 15.00-16.30 (MSK)
1.Irina Khruleva, Nadezhda Diyanova, History Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Success in promoting the ideas of the First “Great Awakening” as a result of the collaboration of Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield in the 1740s
This paper examines, using the Pennsylvania Gazette as an example, the impact of the press publications on the promotion of the religious ideas of the First Great Awakening in the 1740s. The spread of the ideas of the First “Great Awakening” gave rise to a powerful religious movement that engulfed all the British colonies in North America, which seriously changed the spiritual, socio-political and cultural development of colonial society. Religious coverage in the Pennsylvania Gazette expanded the reach of the First Great Awakening movement. The inhabitants of the American colonies, professing different religious views, experienced for the first time a general spiritual “renewal”, which served as the beginning for the formation of a common religious and ideological space in the colonies of British America. The editorial policy of the Pennsylvania Gazette was greatly influenced by both the religious views of its publisher Benjamin Franklin and the tradition of tolerance in the colony of Pennsylvania, founded by Quakers at the end of the 17th century.
- Boris Maksimov
Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The Flip Side of Progress in the “Gothic” Tales of A. Bierce
In his essay “Civilization” (1909) Bierce states that America is following in the footsteps of older civilizations “with needless haste”, as a result the nation is “wasting its energy”. Bierce’s “gothic” tales raise the question of the costs of the forced development that America experienced in the post-war period. The writer is particularly concerned about the following negative trends:
- Messianic aspiration to the future and insufficient depth of the historical horizon hampered the Romantic view of the national past. In the eyes of the American, the “old” has not yet become “ancient”, it has not acquired the authority and sublime beauty of a “relic”, a national symbol. Hence the neglect of cemeteries and memorials, the aversion to old buildings and ruins that remind Bierce’s heroes of the threat of devolution. As a result, the alienated past, to which the American of the ‘Gilded Age’ was linked both genetically and culturally, is demonized and becomes a source of anxiety and terror.
2 Saturated with conflict and change, semi-nomadic life accelerated the running of time, contributing to physical acceleration. In Bierce`s tales, many colonists experience premature aging. This is not a question of senile mentality: this defect of mature, European civilization wasn’t common for Americans. In the American context of the nineteenth century, youth is threatened not by the speculative “experience” inherited from the older generation, but rather by physical deterioration, by the exhaustion of vital forces. In Bierce’s stories, acceleration “steals” the middle, mature stage of life from the frontiersman or soldier: his protagonists leave their families too early and return home too late; they exhaust their life resource, before they get mentally mature for house-building, matrimony, fatherhood.
3 The devaluation of senility (antiquity) in the New World was counterbalanced by the idealization of childhood. The blows to which the family hearth was subjected in the feverish atmosphere of the “Gilded Age” intensified nostalgic feelings. Due to the absence of a deep historical foundation, as well as to the fragility of family happiness, the parental home and carefree childhood acquire utopian features in the minds of Bierce’s characters. The brighter the infantile ideal shines, the more painfully the grown-up hero experiences the collision with empirical reality. The journey home in Bierce’s short stories often ends in a mental collapse, provoked by the debunking of a child’s dream.
- Andrei Taigildin, Mari El State University, Yoshkar-Ola, Russia
Popularizing American History knowledge through a Group ‘Manifest Destiny’ in the Russian Social Network VKontakte
The report is devoted to the personal experience of the author to maintain the popular science page “Manifest Destiny” on the VKontakte website. The group touches on various events and phenomena in the history of the United States from 1800 to 1865. All messages are distributed by topics covering economics, politics, culture, art, foreign policy, wars, regions, slavery and other problematic issues of this period of the US history. The dynamics and activity of the group’s subscribers show the interest of the Russian Internet users in the history of the United States. At the same time, in comparison with other groups on the history of the United States covering the entire period, or having a more entertaining character, the popularity of “Manifest Destiny” is quite modest. The site’s tools allow to analyze the composition of subscribers, as well as the reaction to certain posts, which helps to identify the most interesting topics of US history for the Russian reader.
4.Natalya Kuznezova, Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Rejection of Success as the Path to Success: the Formula for achieving the Goal in Melville’s short stories
The conditions of success and ways of overcoming failure will be considered in such Melville’s short stories as The Happy Failure, The Fiddler, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids, Jimmy Rose. The success/failure of Melville’s heroes depend not only on the personal qualities of a person, but also on his ability to cope with external circumstances, including the environment (nature) or the rapid passage of time (fashion). Melville also shows how excessive concentration on goal attainment and social recognition (as well as isolation, sacrifice, dreaminess, tendency to mental traumas, focus on the self) – do not lead a person to success and even threaten him with disembodiment. In contrast, success in Melville’s short stories comes to people who are ready to distance themselves from their unique, outstanding qualities (resources) that would allow them to achieve honor.
Section 3. Contemporary American Culture
Coordinator Prof. Dr. Elena Kornilova
(Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
December 3, Sunday, 10.00 – 17.00 (MSK)
- Irina Kudryavtseva, Minsk State LinguisticUniversity, Belarus
Varina by Ch. Frazier: the ups and downs of the First Lady of the Confederacy
In his novel Varina Charles Frazier offers a literary representation of the personality of Varina Davis, the second wife of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Placing the image of Varina in the context of the political, social and cultural realities of that epoch, Frazier avoids judging Varina by showing her successes and failures in different roles – those of the First Lady, wife, mother, author.
- Tatyana Alenkina, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Research University), Russia
The Art World of America in the 1960s in the Novel by Arthur Hailey Hotel
The Art World of America in the 1960s in the Novel by Arthur Hailey Hotel The “art world” as a concept represents a life-like or fictional reality in its conventional variant. M.Bakhtin introduced the term “architectonics of the art world”, based on the principle of seeing as a process and its object simultaneously. Combining the elements of content and form, the art world is present at the plot-thematic, character, and linguistic level. The purpose of the report is to analyze the modeling of the art world of America at the given levels. The action takes place in New Orleans in the 1960s. The readers get acquainted with the routine work of the independent hotel St. Gregory in the dramatic period in its life – in five days the hotel’s unpayable and unrenewable mortgage is due , necessitating its sale. These five days , which are decisive for the fate of the hotel, its employees and visitors, are shown in the novel. The main theme of the novel is a typical, socially predetermined American person with his pursuit of money and success. In the system of characters are people who are already rich and successful: a present proprietor of the hotel Warren Trent, a tycoon Curtis O’Keefe with his determination to buy the hotel, and one of the most rich people in North America Albert Wells, who would become the owner of the hotel at the end of the novel. All of them have their own story of getting rich and a different viewpoint on the role of the hotel in the modern society. For Warren Trent St. Gregory is all his life, but his best days are gone. The reason for that is “lagging behind the time” and “poor organization”. “The system of subordination is very weak”, claims O’Keefe, who suggests his own ideal picture of the hotel in the future. He is sure that automatization is necessary, staff reduction, and abandonment of the old style of service. In the age of planes there is no need in comfort, elaborate cuisine, luxury, and individual style. However, though now “the public is craving for chrome and shine”, very soon “people will be tired of all that and return to antiquity – genuine hospitality, variety of characters and environment”, states Wells . Having a natural feel for business and people, Wells highly appreciates the abilities of Peter McDermott, a young head manager. Like Trent, Peter loves the hotel. He is well-educated, hard-working, and open to the requirements of time – an ideal Vice-President of the hotel, the rank he would get at the end of the novel. In contrast to McDermott, who is an honest self-made man, the majority of low-rank hotel workers serve the golden calf. These are a house detective Ogilvie, who agrees to run the Jaguar of the Duke and Duchess of Croydon, a main evidence of their crime, to Chicago for 25, 000 dollars; the representatives of the “old guard” – a barman Tom Erlshore and a cleaning woman Meg Yateman, who are into stealing food and drinks; a bellboy Herbey Chandler, with his practice of taking bribes. Because of them, the hotel is suffering losses. In search of money as the symbol of success, all characters show the universal traits for every human being – trickery, greediness, corruption, meanness, indifference – and this contributes to the novel’s enduring success.
- Alla Nikoulina, Akmulla Bashkir State Pedagogical University, Ufa, Russia
Recovering form “Sickness unto Death” as the Key to Life Success in Walker Percy’s Novel “The Second Coming”
In his philosophical novel “The Second Coming”, created under the influence of Søren Kierkegaard’s and Gabriel Marcel’s ideas, Walker Percy looks for the way to overcome the situation of existential alienation in which Will Barrett and Allison Huger, the main characters of the novel, find themselves. Will produces an impression of a respectable businessman and the embodiment of absolute success, while Allie, a patient in a psychiatric clinic who has no job, education, or clear life prospects, can in no way be described as successful. At the same time, Will cannot escape feeling lost, while Allie is happy and lives in harmony with herself and the world. Their meeting becomes crucial for both: Will, under Allie’s influence, has to overcome his despair, Kierkegaard’s “sickness unto death”; Allie has to feel the transformative power of love; and both of them have to experience a symbolic “second conversion”, the discovery of faith, which, according to Percy and Marcel, comes through realizing another person’s significance, the metaphysical importance of “you” concept. The newly discovered faith turns out to be vital not only for the characters’ inner peace of mind, but for their successful interaction with the outside world as well.
- Tatyana Belova, Department of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Jason Compson’s Unrighteous Path to Success in W. Faulkner’s Novel The Sound and the Fury and his crushing failure
Describing the tragedy of breakdown of a once distinguished and honored the Compsons’ family W.Faulkner creates a demonic image of the youngest brother Jason – a hard, cold, ruthless and rather practical in his attempts to realize his childish dream to grow rich. And the metaphoric detail of his behavior in childhood – keeping his hands in his pocket, that always leads to his constant falls down is used here to embody his future degradation on the way to become rich. He is portrayed in the novel as an unscrupulous and inhuman scoundrel who rejects his ancestors’ notions of dignity and decency. He cynically treats all his relatives as well as the negro servants with contempt, continually deceives and robs his mother, extorts big sums of money from his sister Caddy, forced to live apart her daughter Quentin, who is also deprived of her lawful share by Jason. And when he suddenly loses all his money he also finally loses his moral character – chocked with anger he strikes the unknown old man – a cook from the show trying to find out the truth about his niece and her boy-friend and then severely beats his mentally sick brother Benjy. W.Faulkner considered Jason to be the most abominable personage, ever had occurred in his imagination, wholly void of all positive qualities, essential to the next of kin.
- Tatyana Fedorova, Department of Foreign Languages and Area Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The Concept of “Success” in Modern Autobiographical Discourse in The USA
Any type of “Self” concept is both socially marked and culturally conditioned. Modern autobiographies written by American popular culture representatives present a vivid example of the fundamental for the US culture narratives of “American dream” and “self-made man” functioning. The author examines images and values represented in autobiographical texts which had an impact on formation of American key components of success: ability to take risk; hard work which is closely connected with the Protestant work ethic; self-belief; self-development; ability to think-outside-the-box and others
6. Alexander Chernavsky, Moscow Pedagogical State University, Russia
The Phenomenon of “Cancel Culture” in the 21st century: heritage and prospects in the USA
The phenomenon of “cancel culture” emerged in the United States in the 2010s and quickly spread in Western countries. Its essence is public condemnation and boycotting public figures or organisations for morally unacceptable statements or actions. This phenomenon reflects the politicization of American society and the contradictions between freedom of speech and social justice. The report analyzes the historical background of the emergence of the “culture of cancellation”, its manifestations in the 2010s, assessments and criticism of this phenomenon. It is noted that despite accusations of infringement on freedom of speech, the ” cancel culture” will remain influential to combat discrimination. An analytical generalization about the need to find a balance between free speech and social justice is also formulated. It is concluded that this phenomenon reflects the underlying contradictions of American society and is highly likely to persist in the near future. The study also briefly assesses the civilizational risks and benefits of preserving the “culture of abolition” in the United States.
7. Polina Vorobyova, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia
Gangster Rap: Romanticizing the Image of Criminality as a Way to Popularize the Genre
Rap music originated in the 1970s. Critics predicted its rapid decline, but rap music flourished and changed the landscape of American popular culture. In the following decade, the genre underwent significant changes with the appearance of a separate direction in it – gangster rap. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangster rap had become the most commercially profitable subgenre of rap music. Today, gangster rap allegedly allows you to look from the inside at the street life of blacks in cities through the prism of crime and violence. The street code is an integral element of rap music and influences the formation of social identity and the behavior of listeners. This study is based on the content analysis of rap music and explores how the street code is represented in rap music. The study does not proceed from the premise that gangster rap directly causes violence. We explore the discursive practices through which rap helps construct violent social identity and explain violent behavior. The study examines how the structural conditions of urban communities affect cultural adaptation and the formation of a street code in which violence occupies one of the central positions. In the study, we focus on the relationship between the street code, rap music and the construction of social identity. Empirically, the study analyzes how the rappers’ texts actively construct violent identities, ways to justify violence and explain it in terms that clearly echo the code of the street. The research method is a content analysis of 200 songs from rap albums from 1992 to 2000. The lyrics of the songs under study contain images of violence that perform many functions, including the formation of identity and the exercise of social control.
8. Tatyana Kamarovska, Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Minsk, Belarus
Woman’s search for Identity in J. Smiley’s Novels about Farmers: from Some Luck to A Thousand Acres
Woman’s Search for Identity is a constant theme of J. Smiley’s novels. We’ve chosen a particular aspect of this theme dealing with American farmers who once where the cornerstone of American society. The delineation of this theme in the above mentioned novels should be viewed in the order opposite to strict chronology.
Smiley’s novel Some Luck (2014) is a chronicle of the life of Langdons, a farming family during 34 most turbulent years in the life of the country of the first half of the 20th century. The characters of the novel are vivid, their formation is carefully, psychologically accurately traced in the novel. At the same time, the specificity of the author’s narrative is such that realistic images of the novel become symbols, archetypes of certain aspects of the national character and social life of the country. So, the main character, Walter, is a symbol of traditional American farmer in the first half of the 20th century; his wife Rosanna is the archetype of a farmer’s wife, the mother of a family, occupying her niche in the life of the farm, limited to the role of wife and mother. Some aspects of the national character are embodied by his sons and daughters. We see a completely different solution to the topos of American farmer in the writer’s earlier novel A Thousand Acres (1985). Jane Smiley develops a farm topos in the conditions of the social reality of the USA of the 70-80-ies of the twentieth century, depriving the farmer and his activities of any romantic coloring, exploring the social and moral consequences of land ownership. The themes of the moral impoverishment of the farmer who has achieved success due to the predatory use of land, and the epistemological search of his daughters for their identity come to the fore in this novel. One of the main themes of the novel is the theme of ecofeminism.
9. Galina Kovalenko, Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
The Collapse of the Myth of Success in American drama
The myth of the success, traditionally associated with American dream, was shaken by wars of the 20th and the quarter of 21 century. David Rabe’s ‘Streamers'(1975) and Lindsey Ferrentino ‘Ugly Lies the Bone’ (2017) reflected a loss of life guidelines andfaith in American dream psychologically reliable.
10. Vladimir Khalilov, Arbatov Institute of the USA and Canada, Moscow, Russia
Marxism & Martini: Communists in Hollywood of the 1930s
The presentation is focused on the Communists’ activities in 1930s Hollywood. The fascination of the Dream Factory workers with “Marxism and martinis” became a fashionable fad at that time. During these years, the Hollywood section of the Communist Party numbered over 300 members, and the diary of every resident of the Tinseltown included a dinner party, banquet, or soiree in support of a particular progressive cause — famine relief, Nazi victims fundraise, the purchase of ‘milk for Republican Spain’, or any other initiative that could attract pacifists, moderate socialists, and liberal intelligentsia into the Communist camp. Communist organizational activists entered Hollywood for prestige and publicity, and to influence an industry that had by then become the flagship of American popular culture. The party wanted to attract celebrities and intellectuals for fundraising, exert its influence through associations of workers in essential occupations, but above all provide support for the policies of the USSR. Hollywood accommodated idealism with careerism, calls for revolution with capitalist decadence, dreams of freedom with support for Stalinism. The Hollywood ‘red dance night’ ended with the signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact and the change of party line and rhetoric to anti-interventionist and pacifist, but the echoes and reverberations of it stretched on for decades.
11. Yulia Danilina, RSUH, Moscow, Russia
Visualization of a way to American dream in “The Bear” (2022-2023)
FX’s series “The Bear” is inspired by a real story of Chicago’s beef stand “Mr. Beef”. It was opened in 1979 and survived foreclosure in 2009 during the economic crisis. Current research is focused on visual structure of the series, including cinematography and editing specifics, alone with choice of location. Its main functions are revealed, from creating a place of comfort or discomfort to protagonist’s psychological characteristic and underlain of current situation. Visual structure of the series helps to create a psychological drama about necessity of inner changes from classic story about a hard way to American dream.
12. Anna Sebryuk, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Rise and Grind: the Cult of Productivity and Toxic Positivity in Modern American Society
The popular slogan “Rise and Grind” has become one of the most indicative of contemporary Western culture. It can be heard in the motivational speeches of many business coaches and fitness trainers. The pursuit of productivity, multitasking, and the need for constant self-improvement and success have become an integral part of modern life, defining our values, relationships, and psychological health. Modern society sees high performance and progress as a key factor for individual and collective well-being. It also retains the idea that negative emotions are something undesirable and should be ignored or suppressed, leading to the creation of an image of an ideal, always happy and positive person. This ideological background has contributed to the emergence of such sociocultural phenomena as overproductivity, toxic positivity, and hustle culture. The desire for success and self-development, although it can be motivating, often leads to the destructive cycle of self-comparison, anxiety and dissatisfaction with one’s own life. In search of achieving high standards and meeting social expectations, a person, experiencing constant stress, may lose the balance between work, personal life and concern for their own health and well-being. Workaholism, the need to feel needed and “productive” at any cost inevitably leads to overload, burnout and health problems. Based on the principles of critical discourse analysis, this paper attempts to reveal the essence of the mentioned phenomena and analyze the historical, cultural and social factors that have led to their development in American society. The author highlights the role of Protestant ethics, with its beliefs about hard work, material success and self-discipline, in shaping the cult of hyperproductivity. Through the analysis of a number of contemporary TV series and films, the author examines how modern American cinema portrays the exhausting pursuit of success, toxic work culture, idealization of life on social media, and aggressive optimism. Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, Grind culture, Hustle Culture, Overproductivity, Toxic Positivity, Modern American Society, Lifestyle, Cult of Productivity, Cult of Success.
13. Ivan Panamaryov, Tomsk State University, Russia
Charles Bukowski and Jon Webb: the dialog between writer and publisher in the American literature of the 1960s.
The literature of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s is characterized by the increasing role of small literary magazines. This phenomenon, known as the Mimeo Revolution due to the use of portable printing presses called “mimeographs”, elevated small-format countercultural magazines. It gave writers a platform to express themselves, brought readers closer to the writer, and opened new talents. During the Mimeo Revolution, authors ventured into a new literary domain, discovered their activism, and engaged in productive discussions with publishers and writers. Charles Bukowski, a full-time writer since 1960, is indebted to this process. His works’ style and subject matter were rarely understood by major publishers, so he sent his stories and poems to small literary magazines. In 1957, he edited his wife Barbara Fry’s Harlequin magazine and became part of the publishing process himself. His own publication, Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns, co-authored with the poet Harold Norse and published in a single issue in 1969, shows that Bukowski was aware of the mimeograph’s possibilities and advantages. Bukowski gained significant recognition through his association with Jon Webb and Loujon Press. In 1963, Jon and Louise Webb decided to support Bukowski by dedicating the third issue of The Outsider (1961-1969) to him and awarding him with an Outsider-of-the-Year award. Jon Webb published two books of Bukowski’s poetry: It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (1963) and Crucifix in a Deathhand (1965), the latter of which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. At this time, The Outsider had become a sensation due to the publishers’ focus on high-quality printing, avant-garde literature, and taboo-free content. The inaugural issue of the magazine featured writings by notable authors such as Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others. From 1961 to 1970, Bukowski and Webb corresponded frequently. During their exchanges, the writer shared his perspective on art, his contemporaries’ oeuvres, mused on life and destiny, suggested titles for upcoming works, and extended assistance with publishing endeavors. The extensive correspondence materials offer a more profound comprehension of the Mimeograph Revolution, its inner workings and processes, and a clearer image of the literary process’ peculiarities in the United States during the 1960s.
14.Vladimir Gvozdev, Kuban State University, Krasnodar, Russia
Overcoming the Model of Criminal Success in American Films about Italian Mafia
In the presentation the impact of Italian organized crime on American culture and cinema during the 20th and 21st centuries is explored. Starting with iconic films like “The Godfather,” it delves into how Hollywood’s portrayal of Italian mobsters has shaped public perception and cultural stereotypes. Further the way how these narratives evolved over the years becomes the focus, highlighting films like “Goodfellas” and modern series like “The Sopranos.” It is argued that the portrayal of Italian gangsters in American cinema not only serves as entertainment but also significantly influences societal attitudes.
15. Elena Kornilova, Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Not a child’s path forward to success. Wednesday Adams at Nevermore Academy
The American television series for teenagers Wednesday, filmed for the entertainment company “Netflix”, demonstrates behavior patterns that lead to the achievement of goals and ultimately to success. The eldest daughter of the Adams family, at the age of 16, masters the technique of martial arts, writes detective stories, plays the cello, masters rapier, archery, etc., as well as the ability to expose criminals. The young Goth lady, combining the features of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, embodies the ideal of a modern American heroine. At the same time, she is a sociopath who does not want to enter into any relationships with other people. She prefers the dead end of global loneliness and dissatisfaction. There is almost no smile on the heroine’s face and her gaze, unblinking, from under her brows delights Internet users. Despite the offensive nickname “freak,” Wednesday saves the town of Jericho and the surrounding forest from a killer monster (Haida), simultaneously exonerating his family from being accused of a crime. Students at the Nevermore Academy for teens with paranormal abilities recognize her superiority after a deadly battle with the forces of evil. However, Wednesday remains proudly lonely and cold, demonstrating an extreme form of narcissism. People and their company do not attract her.
Section 4. Ethnic Aspects of American Culture
Coordinator Dr.Oksana Danchevskaya
(Moscow State Pedagogical University, Russia)
December 1, Friday, 10.00 – 13.00 (MSK)
- Inna Shchepacheva, Kazan Federal University, Russia
American Dream in Percival Everett’s Creativity
The report deals with the creativity of contemporary African-American writer Percival Everett and his novels American Dessert (2004) and I Am Not Sidney Poitier (2009). Nowadays Everett is one of the most fruitful and prolific American authors and belongs to the new generation of black writers. In his novels, the author addresses the phenomenon of the American Dream, one of the most popular topics in US literature of the 20th-21st centuries. Both novels have the same plot structure, showing the transformation of the American dream into an American tragedy. Everett demonstrates the enormous impact of this phenomenon on the lives of modern Americans.
- Yuri Stulov, Independent researcher, Republic of Belarus
Ray Carney’s Drama On The Way To Success: Colson Whitehead’s Harlem
In his Harlem Duology (the novels The Harlem Shuffle, 2021 and The Crook Manifesto, 2023), the renowned African-American writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead shows the life of the young black hero Ray Carney, who, against his will, tries to save his small furniture store in Harlem but who finds himself connected with the criminal world of New York, which involves him in serious criminal showdowns that threaten to destroy him. The ending of the first novel of the dilogy seems to put an end to his relationship with criminality, but the second novel again brings him to the world, in which social justice does not operate and everything is decided by laws based on the subordination of the weak to the strong, blacks to whites, the so-called powerless to the so-called “guardians of law and order.”
Social vulnerability, racial discrimination, and stratification among African Americans explain the motives for the behavior of the hero, who is forced to look for ways to survive, which leads to nervous breakdowns, fears and failures, and, although his small store in the second novel turns into a large trading establishment, Ray’s conscience is constantly tormented and becomes a source of constant pain and anxiety.
Having chosen the form of a criminal-social novel, Whitehead highlights the psychology of a person who is trying to achieve well-being for his family, but to this end he is forced to sacrifice his conscience and consciously commit violations of the law, including encroaching on the lives of other people. Two people live in him: one is loving and caring, conscientious and kind, and the other is tough and heartless, and both of these hypostases are constantly fighting in him.
The image of New York occupies an important place in the dilogy. It is a multifaceted, scary and at the same time beautiful and amazing city, on the streets of which dramatic events play out.
- Almaz Zakirov, Research Center “Institute of World Politics and Economics”, Kazan, Russia
”Black Revolutionary Theatre” by Amiri Baraka (LeRoy Jones) in the period from 1965 to 1971
Without a doubt, the six years from 1965 to 1971 mark one of the most significant periods of social unrest in the United States, in general, and in the African-American civil rights movement, in particular. In this short but eventful time, the civil rights movement escalated, evolving from a peaceful non-resistance movement to a «Black Power» resistance movement. Corresponding to these socio-political events was the emergence of powerful and persistent public protest theater movements. The socio-political situation in the USA of this period greatly contributed to the practice of the theater of social protest. In March 1965, a month after the murder of Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka (then LeRoy Jones) and other black activist artists met in Harlem to form the «Black Revolutionary Theatre». With funding from Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU), an anti-poverty program created by President Lyndon Johnson’s Office of Economic Opportunity, the «Black Revolutionary Theatre» set out to bring black art to the black masses.
- Dmitry Vorobyov, Arbatov Institute of the USA and Canada Studies, Moscow, Russia
The Career of Booker Washington as the Basis for Accommodationist Approach in Resolving the Race Relations Problematic in the US South at the Turn of the 19th – 20th Centuries
This performance is devoted to the consideration of the career features of the American public figure Booker T. Washington, who, despite the fact that he was born a slave, managed to become the leader of the African-American community at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. As the first president of the nationally renowned Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, Washington became the main promoter of the policy of accommodating the black population to the prevailing racial order in the American South in exchange for opportunities for successful socio-economic development. Based on his own experience, Washington was confident that the hard work and progress of African Americans would be appreciated by the white community, which in reality only resulted in a further attack by racist legislation on the rights of the black population.
- Anastasia Tsapaeva, Deaprtment of International Relations, St.Petersburg State University, Russia
Tensions between Jews and African Americans in the 1960s and 70s
The 50s and 60s in the history of the United States mark a historic milestone in the struggle for human rights. The Civil Rights Movement was what changed American society once and for all. The Jewish community has made a significant and multidimensional contribution to this struggle. Jewish activists, inspired by their religious and cultural values, took an active part in protests, rallies and lobbying for the adoption of progressive legislative acts. They played a key role in organizing and financing the movement, creating and developing civil rights organizations, providing legal assistance and support for activists. This Black-Jewish alliance seemed to exist for a very long time, because despite the difference in racial origin, both ethnic groups have something in common – throughout history they have experienced systematic discrimination. However, already in the late 60s, the alliance gradually began to disintegrate. In this study, the author identifies the reasons that served to increase tension in relations between Jews and African Americans in the 60s and 70s by the example of specific cases. Key issue – deterioration of relations between Jews and African Americans in the 60-70s. Conclusions: 1) A key point that caused additional tension was the dispute over the decentralization of schools in New York City in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville (a predominantly African-American neighborhood) in 1968. The New York City government wanted to reform the school system by giving responsibility for school management to community councils. The question was whether the public council had the right to hire and fire teachers without taking into account the due process system of the teachers’ union. The disparity between the teachers, who were predominantly white and Jewish, and the students, who were predominantly Puerto Rican or black, made parents worry, because these different national groups obviously have different backgrounds. Having been able to hire black teachers, the president of the American Federation of Teachers began distributing leaflets accusing African Americans of anti-Semitism, which became a new round in the escalation of interethnic conflict. 2) The granting of special quotas, or if we can say, privileges to African Americans, implying representation not by personal qualities, but by race, has also become a stumbling block. The argument is supported by the case of Mark De Funes, who was denied admission to the University of Washington School of Law in 1971, although he scored more points than the same African-Americans who were eventually accepted. The case caused a resonance in the Jewish community and served as another reason for the African-American-Jewish confrontation. 3) Zionism was one of the reasons why African Americans were wary of Jews. They believed that this movement led to the fact that the newly formed state unfairly occupied foreign territories, becoming a hotbed of imperialism – something that African Americans fought against. This conclusion will be confirmed by the example of 1977, when Andrew Young, a civil rights activist and the first African-American ambassador to the United Nations, secretly met with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization, for which he was fired. Allegedly it was promoted by Jews.
- Irwin Weil, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA
How Success Has Been Achieved In the USA in the 20th Century (on the example of one Jewish family)
The following account applies to a typical American family in the Midwest of the country in the early 20th Century. In the late decade of the 19th Century there was a man in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the banks of the Ohio River, who had the most economically successful horse stables in that region. His family had immigrated into the USA several decades after the American Civil War. It included men who had prospered financially in the main business of serving intra-city transportation.
This gentleman had three sons, the eldest of whom had eagerly entered into the horse business of that time. He was not interested in achieving an elementary education and soon left the official school system of the early 20th Century.
In the year 1917, the European War was proceeding at a furious rate, and it became evident that the USA would soon be involved. The young man knew that the U.S. Cavalry would soon need no small number of horses, so he travelled to Washington, D.C. in order to enter negotiations to seek the horses necessary for the Cavalry at that time. There he met his future wife who had a secretarial job at Capitol Hill.
Her family came to Cincinnati and found education and economic support in that city. In the 1920’s, they started marriage life and had three children: three daughters and one son (born in 1928). That young fellow became the author of this tale.
The father became a well-known businessman in that city. It was a time when the era of horse drawn transportation came to a close, largely thanks to the man named Henry Ford and to his internal engine vehicles burning gasoline. So he shifted to car dealership.
In the presentation, the further story of the members of the family working and bringing up children in the 20s and 30s is described, displaying the origins of the author’s interest in Russian literature and culture. Through exploring this area, in his turn, bringing success to many of his students during more than 50 years of teaching at American Universities.
- Yao Yuan, Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus
The American Dream of Chinese Immigrants and the Realities of Life (based on the book Orphan Bachelors by Fae Myenne Ng)
The paper examines the role of the “American Dream” in the development of American society and its influence on the consciousness of Chinese immigrants. It introduces to the Russian scholars of American studies the American writer of Chinese origin Faye Mienne Ng. The report analyzes her latest book on the history of Chinese migration to America, the situation of Chinese immigrants in the United States during the introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882 to 1943) and the Chinese Immigrant Confession Program (1956-1965), and points out the problems, which Chinese immigrants encountered in American society (racism, discrimination, etc.) and their terrible consequences: the emergence of a “bachelors orphans” society, the phenomenon of the “paper son”, endless family conflicts, etc. The writer gives a detailed picture of her family’s life: her parents’ emigration to America, their hard work and pursuit of the American dream in order to provide their children with better living conditions, and their suffering from the consequences of the introduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Chinese Confession Program. The writer clearly points out that it was these racist measures that destroyed Chinese family values and created conflicts between parents. However, the Chinese language (Cantonese dialect), Chinese culture and Chinese traditions are preserved in the Chinese immigrant family, which always gives people strength and hope.
- Oksana Danchevskaya, Moscow State Pedagogical University, Russia
On Mediation among American Indians
Every nation has its own, time-tested methods of resolving conflicts and disputes. One of these methods is very similar to the mediation procedure used today in different countries. Most American Indian tribes had to completely or partially abandon such traditional practices and for a long time use their Western counterparts imposed by the United States. However, time has shown that the Western option is not always suitable for the indigenous population due to too great differences both in approaches to resolving the conflict and in the expected results from the procedure itself. In the 21st century, the American justice system increasingly began to turn to tribal traditions, which led to the creation of a number of special dispute resolution programs for representatives of the indigenous population. It is mediation that forms the basis of many of these programs, and is also successfully used by the tribes themselves. We will examine the features of American Indian mediation and the reasons that make it such an effective tool in achieving agreement between the parties to the conflict.
- Julia S. Ovchinnikova, Department of Foreign Languages and Area Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
“Everything has its song”: Man and Nature in the musical traditions of Native Americans on the Northwest coast of Canada
The thesis is based on materials collected by professor Alexander V. Vashenko during a trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands. The specifics of interconnection between man and nature in musical traditions of Native Americans of the Northwest of Canada is regarded. In the life of Haida, Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Tsimshian peoples till nowadays songs and ritual dances serve as means of maintaining a living connection with the universe and supernatural beings that inhabit it. According to the Haida worldview, the universe is inhabited by supernatural beings (sGaana), to which they include the souls of ancestors, spirits of the ocean, forest and sky. Supernatural beings live in communities similar to the Haida society: they live in long houses, their villages are located in the sky, in the sea or in the forest. These creatures hide their human appearance behind animal skins (which they remove in their homes).
The Haida concept of musical creativity is associated with their communication with supernatural beings and the universe as whole. To receive song as a gift from spirits, the Haida performed ritual and medical practices. According to myths, the Haida received songs from two Eagle Sisters, who learned to sing songs from birds.
According to N. Curtis, the Kwakiutl say: “Everything has its song. Every person, every animal, and everything has its own song and its story”. Personal song makes a person makes a man to become human by “feeding” his soul. As V. Morrison (Haida) notes, “to become a man, you have to have your own song <…>. The way you get a song <…> it’s not so much the words or tune to a song, it’s the insight into how I fit myself in the rhythm of life”.
Among musical instruments of the Kwakiutl, Haida, and Tsimshian people, the Raven rattles are widespread throughout the region. Raven rattles were used by chiefs during dance ceremonies. The traditional version of the Raven rattle combines several zoomorphic images. The main figure is a Raven holding a small box in its beak. On its back there is a reclining figure of a human. A frog sits on him, its tongue extended into the human’s mouth. The underside of the rattle, representing the Raven’s belly, depicts a supernatural sea creature. On the Raven’s back, behind the man’s legs, there is a bird, apparently a kingfisher, whose beak serves as the Raven’s tail.
Among many interpretations of the Raven Rattle symbolism, C. Helferrich’s version seems interesting. The Raven in Haida culture is the great trickster and transformer, who stole daylight from the heavens and brought it to a world that had not been illuminated before. The box in its beak holds the daylight, symbolizing the beginning of the world and the dawning of human consciousness. The sea creature of the Raven’s belly combines elements of fish, whale and birds, pointing to the source of human wealth – the diversity of life in the sea. In most rattles, the figures of a person and an animal (Frog, Bear, Eagle) are connected by tongues. Here we see the idea of spiritual mystery of language and speech as a natural relationship between man and nature. The Raven rattle contains a message related to understanding of the world and the path to success and prosperity in life: the gift of light is within a person; the source of human wealth is the nature; the forms of connections with the universe may change, but the spiritual foundations of life are inviolable.
- Anna Gongadze, Departments of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Rudolfo Anaya’s Trilogy about the People of Aztlan as Successful Example of the Synthesis of Cultures. (The Question of Ethno Cultural Discourse.)
The aim of this report is to present historical and cultural components of the USA and to analyze the challenges of cultural clashes in Anaya’s trilogy about the people of Aztlan. Ethno cultural discourse is of particular attention, the special nature of the narrative – an organic and sustainable synthesis of ideological and artistic techniques that are close in meaning to the artistic method.
This study examines the synthesis of ideological and artistic techniques typical for ethnic literature: mythology, mysticism, role of nature, time and space interaction, philosophy of existence.
An analysis of Anaya’s trilogy about Aztlan allows us to conclude that the pre-Columbian heritage in general and the Aztec influence in particular, occupies an important place in the philosophy of existence. The idea of duality permeates everything in the Aztec tradition. In Aztec metaphors, man appears as a struggle of opposites, that is, his nature is a paradox, a combination of incompatible things.
It seems necessary to include the special nature of mythologism among the fundamental features of “ethnic discourse”. Since for the culture of Mexican-Americans the issue of the coexistence of the Spanish-Mexican and Anglo-American variants of the two leading European languages is of vital importance, it seems appropriate from a cultural point of view to dwell separately on this issue. The question of what constitutes the work of an “ethnic writer” depends largely on solving the problem of mythology and so-called “bilingualism.”
Mythologism in Anaya’s trilogy is multifunctional and multifaceted; it is qualitatively different from all known manifestations in the literature of Europe of the twentieth century and typologically approaches Latin American “magical realism”, although it has its own unique features.
Mexican-American literature has become a kind of laboratory for searching for ways of interaction between different cultural traditions, which makes it possible to build an ethnic picture of the Chicano world.
- Konstantine Romanov, Department of Foreign Languages and Area Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The Role of the Modern Art Museum in the Transformation of Values (The Example of the “Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal”)
The paper raises the following questions: can art have a significant impact on modern societies, or has it turned out to be completely subordinate to the interests of a market economy? Has it lost the potential to form new narratives and discourses, or is it just a means of “controlling souls”, following in the wake of neoliberal hedonistic ideology? To what extent is the formation of collections of modern art museums dictated by economic interests, political conjuncture, or ethical imperatives? To answer these questions, the author will turn to the works of Chantal Mouffe, and also consider the modern experience of the formation of collections by the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.
Section 5. Gender Aspects of American Culture
Coordinators Dr. Nadezhda Shvedova (RAS Arbatov Institute of the USA and Canada, Russia) and Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova (Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
December 1, Friday 16.00 – 19.00 (MSK)
1. Nadezhda Shvedova, Arbatov Institute of the USA and Canada, Moscow, Russia
American Women and Reproductive Rights: the Price of Success
There have been two election cycles since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Meanwhile, it is difficult to disagree with the widespread opinion in the media that abortion rights are the dominant issue in American politics. Abortion rights supporters, a clear majority of Americans, see a connection between their votes and the protection of reproductive rights that were guaranteed by the Supreme Court’s overturned Roe v. Wade (1972).
The female electorate, and not only it, demonstrates an obvious conscious attitude to the need not to waste their vote, not to miss the opportunity to vote for something that represents their own political interest. This reflects a belief in an electoral system in which every vote “matters”. The political system thereby demonstrates its stability and flexibility, capable of self-reproduction.
The election was preceded by national polls (fall 2023) that showed Donald Trump leading President Biden in the 2024 presidential race. But the backlash to Dobbs’ decision—and the general “voters’ aversion” to severe restrictions on abortion access—suggests a decisive role in the re-election of J. Biden for a second term. Many other major issues, including the war and voters’ perceptions of the economy, are also significant. However, the issue of reproductive rights, in particular the right to terminate pregnancy, is highly likely to become a decisive factor in November 2024.
Abortion rights supporters were encouraged by the November 7, 2023 victories in several states. In Ohio, for example, a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights was placed on the ballot. Moreover, the rally in support of abortion rights passed by a large margin, with 56% of votes. In Virginia, control of both houses of the state legislature has been declared a failure, and both parties have made abortion rights a central issue in their campaigns.
The greatest impact was seen in states where abortion was placed on the ballot as ballot measures, but similar effects were felt in states such as Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, where the issue was a major campaign focus. Democrats have exceeded expectations and precedent in key races in 2022 and 2023, putting abortion rights and Republican extremism at the forefront. The 2022 and 2023 elections have proven that strong support for abortion bans energizes progressive voters and swings independents toward Democratic candidates.
- Larisa Mikhaylova, Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Invigorating Reminders of Success: Sigourney Weaver and Hilary Swank in Docudramas about the Fight for Reproductive Freedom and Equal Access to Education, Against Family Violence
Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver star in a recent film Call Jane (dir.Phyllis Nagy,2022) about the Jane Collective, a Chicago activist group that facilitated abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade. Now is the time to remind about the solidarity in the fight for all women, of all groups and colors, willingness to teach each other- about sisterhood, which brought success. Weaver epitomizes a similar elder woman protecting the victims of family abuse in a troubling miniseries Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (2023). Hilary Swank, whose role of Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels(2004) depicted a legend in women’s suffrage, continued portraying such historically important figures, for example a school teacher Erin Gruwell who brought multiculturalist perspective and found a way to approach ‘difficult kids’ in crime-ridden neighborhoods of Long Beach in Freedom Writers (2007): through engaging assignments and personal stories, they learn how to overcome adversity and change their lives in the 1990s. Such films resonate very strongly at present and strengthen the ties connecting contemporary women to the previous stages of fight.
- Maria Zolotukhina, RSUH, Moscow, Russia
Independence at all costs? Changing ideas about old age and aging in the US.
The so-called mainstream culture in the 20th century US promoted the concept of independence and autonomy as crucial to all stages of living the American Dream – once you entered adulthood. “Yes, I would like to be independent of my children when I age”, was the typical answer and the measure of success for the white middle class at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Different options, or rather, the interdependence of generations, were attributed to another America – African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, as well as those whites who could not pave the way to success following universal patterns of leaving for college, getting a job and a house, etc (and, therefore, were not as successful). Several trends are quite significantly changing these trajectories of success for the vast number of contemporary middle class Americans whose values claim to determine the culture of the country in its or core version with all due respect for the notions and manifestations of diversity. The changing criteria for autonomy, independence, and separation from parents, the idea of prolonged adulting concern different age groups, but it is at the final stage of life that the implementation of new norms and new rules (including moving in) brings about particularly complex problems. Among the reasons are growing life expectancy, delayed marriage and birth of children, an increase in the number of non-white Americans, the cost of medical care and at home care, digital communication, a more noticeable involvement of family members in each other’s affairs, including financial ones. That leads to the possibility of gradually changing the degree of dependence of the elderly on children or siblings, introducing new at home care practices, making the fate of the so-called sandwich generations, in which there is demand for simultaneous care for young children and elderly parents a common one. The changings norms have new cultural representations – a significantly greater presence of old people and their problems in the media, as well as the normalization of new ideas about intimacy, responsibility, help – as acceptable examples of success.
- 4. Tanja Srceva-Pavlovska, AUE-FON University, Skopje, North Macedonia
Growth of Self as a way to Success in the novel The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
This paper will focus of the analysis of the main female character in the 2021 Pulitzer winning novel The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, Patrice “Pixie” Paranteau, and the developing steps or phases of her self-success leading through the loss/escape of her sister, a journey for her recovery, a personal advancement through conflict and danger, subsequently leading to self-growth, and (pending) maturation. The novel, which can function as a bildungsroman regarding its sub-plot, if observed through the formative process of the main female protagonist and her ‘coming-of-age’ both morally and psychologically, detaches from its foremost message about the power of success being within the community and the unity. On the contrary, when it comes to vivisecting Pixie’s character, the novel forgets about the power of the pack; it seems that the path to success in the world dominated by WASP men for the twice-marginalized girl (being both a young woman and a Native American) is a two-way route; inner and outer one. The outer leads straight through the front door of one’s family house and into the unknown, leaving your roots, ancestors and your insecurity behind and heading towards the dangers of the twisted, embittered, modern world; and the inner one is even more difficult, leading outside the self that you know into the self that you need to became, facilitated only and solely by the female support and encouragement.
- Ulyana Tikhomirova, Ekaterina Lushnikova, Daria Semanina
Hertzen State Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Visual Interpretation of Woman’s Success in American Popular Culture of the 1950s (I Love Lucy TV Show)
The paper examines the problem of constructing the female image, the field of visual representation in mass culture, and its influence on creating everyday reality. The historiographical aspect of the first half of the 20th century, the socio-cultural position of women, the period of women’s emancipation, and the demographic crisis as reasons for women’s return to their original duties of being keepers of the domestic hearth are discussed. The cultural justification of the role of television as a socially acceptable construct of behavioral patterns is also explored. The sitcom I Love Lucy is analyzed using a semiotic approach in an attempt to identify archetypal models and patterns of female behavior.
6. Natalya Kopytko, Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus
The Character of Marilyn Monroe in J.C. Oates’s The Blond: an Unsuccessfully Successful Woman
The paper considers the forms of artistic representation of Marilyn Monroe’s character in Joyce Carol Oates’s novel The Blond (2000). The author explores the particularities of life and creative work of the outstanding American actress, showing their extraordinary and tragic nature, emphasizing the complexity of collisions and the dramatic character of ambiguous life situations in which Marilyn Monroe found herself because of her professional career and her remarkable fame.
J.C. Oates is interested in exploring the depths of psychological suffering of a creative personality. Marilyn Monroe is represented as an individualist who is not afraid of expressing herself and making ingenious solutions pertaining to her life and professional career. But paradoxically enough she becomes a real legend only after her death that caused a great shock to the world of show business and overwhelming grief among her fans and admirers.
In her novel The Blond J.C. Oates describes Marilyn Monroe who strives for achieving success in her professional career and emphasizes the fact that it often takes place at the cost of personal sacrifices and life troubles. The author also focuses on the way the social and political issues and circumstances influence the life of a celebrity. She also explores the problems of creative self-fulfilment, especially in case of a woman, of the difficulties and violence which she encounters on her way to success in the USA of the 1950s.
In August 1960 Marilyn Monroe was hospitalized because of the overdose during the movie The Misfits was being shot. That was her last movie where the actress eventually managed to play a dramatic part (it was her life-long dream), though she didn’t like the screenplay because her part was less important as compared to the parts of male actors.
Thus, the parallels that can be drawn between a literary character of Marilyn Monroe with her real life enable the readers to understand how she used her talent and art for expressing her emotions, thoughts and experience. J.C. Oates shows how Monroe’s creative work may be paralleled to her personal growth and self-expression.
7. Aisha Harisova, Department of Global politics GAUGN, Moscow, Russia
Integration of women into military politics: the path to success
For a long time, the historical picture of the world was created by men, expressing their view of the surrounding reality, the structure of the ideal family, the place and role of women in the social space. However, many examples show that women can implement their opportunities and achieve success on an equal basis with men. The opportunities for women to serve in the Armed Forces are primarily due to the increasing technical equipment of the troops, the modernization of weapons and the emergence of the latest technologies used in combat. However, the achievement of gender equality in the military-professional environment is inhibited not only by socio-cultural stereotypes, but also by a complex of anatomical and physiological characteristics of women, as well as a number of other factors: the right to realize the social role of the mother, the lack of a clear gender policy of selection, training and procedure for military service by women, legal barriers, etc. Gender stereotypes and negative social attitudes towards female servicemen act as an additional restriction on their integration into the military profession.
To form a concrete idea of the integration of women into military policy official documents, articles, memoirs were studied. They clearly demonstrate examples of how, through the activities of women, the military sphere began to be transformed and modernized, despite outdated ideas about the female field.
In the modern world, new perspectives and opportunities are opening up for women serving in the army, navy and other units of the US armed forces. We are seeing more and more examples of how traditional ideas about the place and role of women in the world are changing, and the Western world is a vivid indicator of this transformation. However, even after achieving a “triumph” in the military profession, women continue to face problems related to stereotypes, beliefs and misunderstandings about their gender.
As proof of these arguments, we can refer to the biographies of such remarkable personalities as Claudia Kennedy and Lisa Franchetti, thanks to whom the concept of “equal society” acquires a true meaning.
Studying the US experience in integrating women into the armed forces and overcoming the conflicts that accompanied the reforms within society, political elites and military collectives can be useful both as a whole and as separate approaches and solutions.
- Chris T. Cartwright, Portland State University, OR, USA
Maura Harrington, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California,Los Angeles USA
Sarah Smith Orr, College of Business, University of Nevada,Reno, NV, USA
Tessa Sutton South Bend School Corporation, South Bend, IN, USA
Women’s Leadership and COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating Crises through the Application of Connective Leadership
International and national crises often highlight behavioral patterns in the labor market that illustrate women’s courage and adaptability in challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting changes in the workplace due to social distancing, remote work, and tele-communications protocols showcased women’s power of authenticity and accessibility (interpersonal and personalized experiences) to engage with their constituents effectively. The catalyst for this research was our desire to underscore the importance of studying the impact of COVID-19 on women leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light specific challenges and disparities women faced in the workplace. It has been asserted that women leaders substantially benefit businesses and organizations and we wanted to test this out through the practices of our research participants. Decades of research reveal that women leaders enhance productivity, foster collaboration, inspire dedication, and promote fairness in the workplace. This article introduces the feminist Connective Leadership Model (CL) an integrative leadership model and one informed by early feminist theory for understanding women’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. A mixed-method study of select US women leaders before and during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the CL model and its efficacy for adaptive, inclusive leadership in various contexts. First, this article highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s leadership and behavioral response to the crisis through the lens of the CL model. Second, this article delves into challenges the women leaders faced, including adaptive challenges, isolation, team management, increased caregiving responsibilities, and gender-related disparities. Third, this article reframes women’s voices articulated through a crisis management leadership framework coupled with an understanding and application of the behaviors defined through complexity theory which are aligned with the CL model. Finally, the article discusses the four ‘As’ of crisis leadership: authenticity, alignment, awareness, and adaptability. The application of the CL model provides an effective framework for determining the most appropriate leadership behaviors within the complex challenges of a crisis; it enables the leader to focus on personal, employee, and organizational well-being.
Section 6. Fantastic in the Arts
Coordinator Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova
(Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)
December 2, Saturday, 13.00 – 15.00 (MSK)
- Xenia Vikhrova, Stiglitz Academy of Art, St.Petersburg, Russia
The end of the world and the “American Dream”: a post-apocalyptic plot in US cinema of the late 20th–21st centuries
Popular culture sees the widespread multi-platform realization of a post-apocalyptic plot: heroes fight for survival on the ruins of civilization in fiction, films, video- and board games. Researchers traditionally distinguish between wasteland post-apocalypse and zombie post-apocalypse: in the first case, an anthropogenic disaster initiates climate change, the biosphere changes dramatically, and survivors have to fight for diminishing resources; in the second case, a deadly infection results in most people turning into bloodthirsty monsters seeking to kill the characters. Within the framework of post-apocalypse, it also seems logical to highlight the popular genre (according to D. Cavelti) of cyberpunk, imbued with finalist motifs, with a characteristic urban landscape, high technology and low standard of living, the dominance of all-powerful corporations and the figure of a cyber-cowboy and a hacker. The very description of the “subgenres” shows that the post-apocalyptic plot has powerful entertainment potential. Readers, viewers, and players can easily take on the role of a post-apocalyptic hero, since the barrier to entry is quite low (for example, in contrast to science fiction and fantasy). However, this circumstance does not fully reveal the full range of reasons for such frequent reference to the plot of the end of the world. The analysis of US films of the late 20th–21st centuries shows that post-apocalypse has a therapeutic function: it eases fears caused by large-scale socio-cultural changes. In addition, the end of the world returns the heroes to the conceptual realm of the “frontier”, in which they paradoxically gain control over their lives and the opportunity to form their own meanings. Finally, post-apocalypse rolls back to traditional values and eternal truths is realized, nostalgia for an idealized past is reflected, which reflects one of the aspects of the “American Dream”.
- Elena Sidorova, Turgenev Orel State University, Russia
Apocalyptic motives and concepts of “life”, “death”, “time”, “space” in the works of American science fiction writers of the 20th and 21st centuries
Philosophical understanding of the problems of life, death, concepts of time and space, the search for answers to the so-called “damned questions of existence” have always interested the representatives of various scientific fields, but they are especially important for writers, philosophers who are in search of solutions to these issues, considering them through the prism of their consciousness and perception of life and world. American science fiction writers in their works model a special futuristic reality, where the image of the future is mostly very gloomy and full of apocalyptic motives. In space and time, everything is closely interconnected, and the slightest collision, a violation of the world order, the death of something insignificant (for example, a butterfly, accidentally killed during a safari in a prehistoric forest by one of the characters in R. Bradbury’s cult story “A Sound of Thunder”) can lead to irreversible, intolerable and terrifying consequences. The purpose of our research is to describe the key apocalyptic motives in the works of American science fiction writers of the 20-th -21st centuries.
- Olga Volodina, RSHU, Moscow, Russia
Bad Robot, Good Robot: Measuring AI’s success in American TV shows
In American cinema in general and American television series (including animated ones) in particular a robot has been shown since the 60s first as a human assistant and companion – be it an anthropomorphic maid (the animated series The Jetsons), a pet (the original version of Battlestar Galactica) or mainly a technological solution for work (Robot B 9 in Lost in Space). Accordingly, the success of a robot is measured by the fulfillment of its purpose, i.e. by the quality of the work performed – the better the work, the more successful the robot. However, over time, other possible ways to present a robot or AI are added to these traditional ways of depicting a robot: either a robot acting on an equal basis with a person, who is subject to the same requirements as a person (Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation or Dorian in Almost Human), or a robot that performs more complex functions and is therefore viewed from a deus ex machina perspective (for example, in the series Person of Interest). The success of the robot in this case depends on interaction with humans – and not just on the pure performance. Finally, there are representations of artificial intelligence opposing humans – in this case, its success enters into direct confrontation with the success or failure of humans fighting against it (as, for example, in Westworld). Thus, we can talk about three options for a robot to achieve success in American TV shows: helping humans, becoming human or overcoming humans. It is impossible to talk about a clear predominance of one of the three trends now.
- Larisa Mikhaylova, Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Selling the Dream or Living It: TV shows of 2023 Big Door Prize and Hello. Tomorrow! as exploration of life potential
Dramedies Big Door Prize and Hello. Tomorrow! that premiered in Spring of 2023, were met with mixed reviews. I would argue that it ensued not only because of peciliar stylistic decisions and uncertain plot development perspectives, but mainly due to the suggestion of search for success in life differing from customary material gain priorities. The sincerity in choosing the path in life becomes central in both shows. Salesman Jack Billings (Billy Crudup, who created an energetic entrepreneur character Cory in critically accalaimed The Morning Show) expresses it rather poetically: “I tell ya Joe, these critics and their negativity, it’s obvious they’ve never been the ones to look a customer in the eye and see the hope a good salesman can bring. If they had, they’d know that this show: you, me, Shirley, the whole crew. We’re the real deal when it comes to a portrayal of what life is like for a man or a woman who sells dreams to good folks who need ‘em”. Their deal is selling timeshares of Brightside community on the Moon like a place to retire to from the uncertainties on Earth – a dream of Jack’s father, which he moved to a stage of building an actual rocket. The scheme of selling timeshares was created by Jack to collect enough money to build the promised land. A stronger financial shark entering a deal puts everything on the edge of a disaster in the end of the first season, Overtones of Miller’s Death of a Salesman can be felt in several scenes. In Big Door Prize we observe a result produced on people by a mysterious vending machine Morpho with a tell-tale blue butterfly on the logo, which produces individual cards with one word designating the person’s potential: Royalty, Explorer, Priest, Hero, Sheriff etc. Only a teacher gets Teacher, but that also includes some unexpected turns. The analysis of viewers’ and critics’ responses helps to understand the reaction to ways to success in these shows
- Yuliya Khoroshevskaya, Rostov State Transport University, Russia
Native Americans` Science Fiction as an attempt to retell their own history (on example of Gerald Vizenor and Celu Amberstone)
Indigenous Futurism has been proposed as a term (against the backdrop of proliferating synonymous concepts such as Afrofuturism, Indofuturism and Latinofuturism) to refer to Indigenous ideas about the future, past and present in the context of science fiction.
Native American authors make extensive use of established tropes, patterns, and stereotypes of fantasy literature to blur racial distinctions and present their own interpretation of the insider/outsider dichotomy. One of the key strategies is to shift the narrator’s point of view from the representative of the dominant culture to the Other, giving him a voice. They weave the tradition of oral storytelling into their texts, giving a significant role to the figure of the narrator, who has the ability to “retell” the sacred history of both one character and an entire people.
Gerald Vizenor’s Bearheart, the Heirship Chronicles (1990) attempts to subvert all stereotypical notions of identity by telling the story of pilgrims in a post-apocalyptic America. Celu Amberstone’s Refugees (2004) touches on the problem of transgression as a traumatic factor in the forced change of the familiar landscape. Here, a group of refugees who arrived on another planet from Earth, which has become uninhabitable, tries to adapt to new living conditions and at the same time get along with the indigenous population.
In both texts, the characters’ hybrid identities and multicultural groups are represented by the authors as those most capable of adapting to a new environment.
Round Table Discussion
Imprints: Image of Russia and Image of America
In Memoriam of Professor Yassen Zassoursky
Coordinator RSACS Academic Secretary Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova
December 2, Saturday, 16.00 – 19.00 (MSK)
1. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas
Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies
Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
A Clash of Cultures: Exceptionalism and Competing Visions of America
On board ship Arabella in 1630, en route to the Americas, Jonathan Winthrop, a Cambridge man, gave a sermon in which he emphasized the global significance of his and his fellow-travelers’ new world vision. Said he, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” Winthrop’s sermon was the beginning of the compelling narrative of American exceptionalism, one that is deeply rooted in North American history and psyche.
Over three hundred and ninety years later, in 2009, President Obama stated, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. “Obama’s words created a firestorm of controversy among those who place America in a special category, as a “shining city upon a hill,” to use President Reagan’s words. Crucially, narratives of exceptionalism and the American Dream are shifting, and President Obama’s rhetoric is heavily implicated in such discourses. For some Americans, President Obama’s rhetoric stands as a capacious signifier for a perceived tattering of America’s special mission, values, and beliefs. Has there been a shift in the United States away from the ideology that America is an exceptional country? Are such discourses emblematic of a deeper fissure between two competing visions of America—cosmopolitanism and provincialism? Is the trope of American exceptionalism necessary for human flourishing in the United States?
My presentation at the round table will examine such questions with an eye toward understanding how discourses of cultural change and conflict work during the era of “Wokenism” in the United States. I argue that three major animating rhetorical forces are elevating and sharpening a clash of cultures in America – whether real or imagined. The rhetorical forces are a perceived waning of confidence in American exceptionalism, cultural change, and fear.
- Marina Litavrina, History Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Nazimova: Way To The Top
The conference paper focuses upon Russian immigrant actress’s Alla Nazimova (1879-1945) American career. The author is regarding her as a clever “diva”, who assimilated American culture and elaborated right and essential strategy, asserting herself in American theatre life.
Born in Yalta to a wealthy jewish family, Alla Leventon first studied violin and later attended musical school in Odessa. Breaking with her despotic father, who was against her artistic career, she left Yalta for Moscow, then entered Philarmonic Drama school, and soon found herself among the students of the dramatic class under the guidance of Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Having graduated from Drama School with honors, she expected to be invited to the newly born Moscow Art Theatre, headed by Stanislavsky and Nemirovich. Unfortunately, she was taken to the company merely as an extra, and spent two ears singing or reciting in famous mass scenes in performances staged by MAT. The promise of her teacher to give Alla a title part never came true. Dissatisfied with this poor position, she joined Paul Orleneff, famous dramatic star, private stock company and travelled with him all over Russia and then to Switzerland and Germany. European critics outlined her acting opposite Orleneff, her partner, this time in the title female roles n Ibsen’s drama and Dostoyevsky’s novels.
With the company of Orleneff, called “Russian Players”, she arrived to the USA in 1905, and after first successful appearences signed her first contract with the famous impresario Lee Shubert. Her debut on the American boards was triumphant: as Clifford Ashby stated, “a slight, dark Russian girl with a bare grasp of English language played Hedda Gabler at a Broadway matinee…The performance signalled the beginning of the theatrical revolution that was to culminate rapidly in the almost complete acceptance of the realistic mode of acting in America”. The arrival of Nazimova to American boards was soon assumed in the current criticism as an advent of new Method of unknown artistic technique, later borrowed from Stanislavsky and his disсiples. Unlike her compatriot realistic predecessors (for instance, Vera Komissarzhevskaya, who also toured here earlier) Nazimova was wise enough not to compete but to collaborate with her American partners. Paradoxically, being a player for exotic roles, she didn’t cultivate her exceptionalism or Russian messianism, but tried to bridge the cultural gap between herself and others, and carefully mastered her English as well. Soon she was nominated the best English-speaking Broadway actress in Ibsen’s repertoire. Besides, she was even compared to famous Duse… Not surprising, the invitation to Hollywood followed. The successful appearance in the pacifist drama War Brides (1916) marked the happy start of her film career and, just in couple of years, she was reported to be among three highly paid stars in Hollywood. Finally, Nazimova circulated in the high society of the US, made friends with Rudolpho Valentino, Diagilev ballet stars, Chaliapin and other international names. Unfortunately, as a film producer, she launched too “arty” and expensive modernistic productions, as Salome and Dame aux Camelias. Based on the plots of European authors these film works irritated both critics and mass audience with its’ excessive luxury. Nazimova went bankrupt and lost nearly all her money. Moreover, the crush of film career was followed by the famous black Tuesday in October, 1929. Nevertheless, Nazimova, a person of steel will and virtuoso artistic craft, managed to overcome “slings and arrows” – her former fame of Broadway star was regained in her new performances based on O’Neil and Ibsen in the 1930-s. Having seen Nazimova onstage only once in the US, Sergey Eisenstein, famous Russian film director, called her mature acting “one of the greatest miracles in the world”.
- Dmitry Okrugin, European University in St.petersburg, Russia
The Image of the American Market For Military Products in the Correspondence of Tsarist Officials: 1914–1917
By the beginning of World War I, the main participants in the conflict almost completely covered their military needs through domestic placement of orders based on their experience of previous wars. The outbreak of World War I set a new “norm” for the expenditure of armaments and ammunition; the adversaries could not cope with achieving the new level of army and navy demands using only domestic capacities. To solve the problem, ministers of the belligerents attempted to place orders in allied and neutral states. Russian representatives established the Russian Procurement Committee in the United States. Members of the committee placed orders in the United States, instructed American specialists on the technical features of Russian armaments, and provided the necessary molds and drawings. The initial broad enthusiasm of tsarist officers, who believed that American industry could quickly meet the needs of the Russian army and industry in materials and equipment, gave way to disappointment. Assessments of the effectiveness of American factories in the writings of Russian officers are full of pejorative images: “the case (setting up production – D.O.) helped by experienced Russian acceptors, who provided free highly competent instruction from the customer”, “and only after being sent to the real experts in the shell business, obtained the appropriate results”. Russian officers attempted to justify themselves to representatives of other state structures in this way because of their institutional affiliation with the Military Ministry of the Russian Empire. The reports, accounts and statistical data created by representatives of the Military Ministry would form the basis of the first scientific and journalistic works on Russia’s efforts during World War I, relaying a specific image of the United States in general and American industry in particular as one of the reasons for the Russian Empire’s inefficiency in the Great War. Subsequent domestic works, for virtually the entire 20th century, did not attempt to read critically the constructed image of the United States in the writings of Russian officers. This report intends to demonstrate the main labels that Russian officers bestowed on American industrialists, entrepreneurs, and employees of U.S. military factories during World War I
- Tatyana Voronchenko, Ekaterina Fedorova, Transbaikal State University, Chita, Russia
Searching for Harmony of the Future: Literary Implementation of Philosophical Ideas of The Society in the Works of Soviet and Chicano Authors of the 2nd Half of the 20th Century
The paper examines the implementation of ideas about the future society development in the works of the Russian Soviet writers: Ivan Efremov’s “Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale” (1957), Sergey Zalygin’s “The Commission” (1976) and Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya’s “The Heart of Aztlan” (1976) and “Jalamanta” (1996). The authors clarify similarities and differences in the representation of the writers’ ideas about the future social structure, the multiplicity of models of the future referred to the utopian model (the image of an ideal future).
- Alexey Fominyh, Mari-El State University, Yoshkar-Ola, Russia
American Exhibitions In The USSR In Analytics Of The United States Information Agency (1959-1979)
Exhibition exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union were the remarkable episodes of the ‘cultural Cold war’. After the first national exhibitions were held in New York and Moscow in 1959, such contacts became regular and over the next two decades they were one of the few “legal” channels for informing the population of the two rival powers about various aspects of each other’s lives. Until the freezing of cultural ties in 1979 (after the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan), the United States Information Agency (USIA) showed 16 traveling thematic exhibitions in 25 Soviet cities, and two more during the years of perestroika and before the collapse of the USSR. The topics of the exhibitions were quite diverse. USIA demonstrated the achievements of American industry, the social sphere (medicine, education), the American lifestyle, as well as various genres of arts and design. A total of 87 shows took place, with an audience of millions of visitors. The USIA research memoranda written after the exhibits reveal the inside practices of the US public diplomacy, enabling Cold war scholars to re-evaluate the Soviet public perceptions of America and the effectiveness of the American information and propaganda policies towards the USSR. The agency also used books with visitors’ comments and questionnaires with responses from Soviet public. Despite the enormous interest in the exhibitions from visitors, the general level of awareness of Soviet citizens about the USA was assessed as very low. Thus, USIA came to the conclusion that information isolation, the impact of domestic Communist propaganda, along with widespread stereotypes and prejudices formed a distorted perception of America, which bizarrely combined images drawn from mass culture (cinema, literature) and propaganda clichés. At the same time, American analysts, during the “field research” carried out at exhibitions, quite accurately pinpointed the main vulnerabilities of the Soviet system, including distortions in the planned economy and problems of interethnic relations
- Zaru Utekova, International Research Center Gradient, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
Image of Russia and Image of America in Kazakhstan
This report presents the image of Russia and the image of America in the mass consciousness of citizens of Kazakhstan, and identifies key features of the perception of these countries based on theoretical and methodological approaches of political and psychological analysis. The practical part of the work is based on the results of in-depth interviews and drawing tests among Kazakhstanis, which was conducted from 2020 to 2023. In the course of the work, the substantive features of the image of Russia and America in the minds of Kazakhstani citizens were revealed, taking into account the rational and unconscious levels of perception. In general, all the identified trends in the minds of respondents in the course of this study indicate that there is every reason for further development of an expanded strategic partnership with both countries under study
- Dmitry Belchich, South Urals State University, Chelyabinsk, Russia
Images of Russia and the USA as Factors in International Relations
The relations between Russia and the United States are going through another transformation. The unpredictability of the future global order fuels the comprehensive research of the dominating features of Russia and the West. The analysis conducted has resulted in the following conclusions. 1. Self-determination of a nation as a “unity of citizens” arises from the collective Other. For Russia, this significant Other is still represented by the “West” and the countries of the “Western world” (the USA and Western Europe). 2. The USA adopts an ambivalent position in public opinion of Russian citizens. On the one hand, due to the semantic componential analysis of the images of the West, the USA is a dominant actor of international relations. At the same time, media discourse refers the US to negative connotations of leadership: “number one enemy”, “golden billion”, “threat”. On the other hand, the USA is associated to a successful lifestyle, high level of education and material welfare of US citizens. 3. In recent years, Russian anti-Americanism and anti-Russian narratives in the U.S. have been regarded via “thesis – antithesis – synthesis” approach. Meanwhile, each party of the interaction (Russia and the U.S.) makes every effort to remove the “antithesis” stage from this scheme and/or substitute it with “synthesis”. 4. The desire to remove “antithesis” from the images of the US and Russia in fact promotes features of block-based thinking, which in turn destabilizes international relations. 5. The study of differences between the Logos of Russia and the Ratio of the West, as well as the search for common spiritual foundations of Russia and the USA (Antiquity, Christianity, and Personality) can contribute to the emergence of a constructive format for discussing national interests and geopolitical claims.
- Alena Vanova, Independent researcher, Moscow, Russia
A Concept of “Being Normal” in American and Russian Cultures: Stereotypes and Archetypes
There is no such a thing as “a way to success” in any culture and/or anybody’s life. If it’s so, here is a question: What would influence on a/your success? Here is an American answer by Dr. Marilyn Murray in her book The Murray Method: this is the concept of “being normal”. In her Chapter “Common = Normal = Healthy, Or, Does It Really” she writes: “In most cultures, the most common behaviors set the standard for what is considered normal. That supposition is then extended to the point that most people tend to believe that what is normal is also healthy.” [My comment: This is an example of a stereotype.] The Murray Method is a starting point for my discussion/comparison of some American and Russian stereotypes and archetypes. For my systematization and assessment, I use the model “Heroes-Values-Rituals-Symbols” suggested in the book Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. My main conclusion is the concept of “norm” influences the result: success (or failure) in culture and life
- Ekaterina Alyoshina, Penza State University, Russia
Alexandre Ayton, St. Petersburg State Technological Institute, Russia-USA
Alexey Matveyev, Independent researcher, Moscow, Russia
Still Dreaming? Representations of the American Dream in State of the Union Speeches
The concept of the American Dream is one of the cornerstones of the American identity (e.g. J. Wolak, D. Peterson, V. Shestakov, S. Nekrasov et al.). This work reveals trends in how the American Dream concept is represented in American presidential rhetoric. The speech corpus comprises State of the Union Addresses of American presidents from 1961 to 2023. Data generated by content-analysis is presented in a graph which illustrates frequency of usage of the term, and particularly its extensive usage by Presidents Reagan and Obama ‘exploiting the stereotype’ in times of economic crises. The conclusions are supplemented by the results of polls on Americans’ opinions about whether the next generation will have better lives than their parents. The current timespan is of particular research interest due to opinions expressed by politicians (e.g. D.Trump) and journalists (e.g. S.Ceesay) who have said that ‘the American dream is dead’. The talk will provide commentaries on these statements which may be evidence of attempts to redefine the concept.
- Maria Ignatyeva, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Modern Stereotypes of Foreigners about Russia in Foreign Cinema
The report examines the essence of stereotypes, ways of forming stereotypes and the role of stereotypical attitudes in intercultural communication. The main part analyzes three films: “Stranger Things” by the Duffer brothers, “Anna” by Luc Besson and “Red Sparrow” by Francis Lawrence and examines the typical stereotypical attitudes shown in the films. The final part emphasizes that Russians are often portrayed as cold and cruel, forming an opinion about the inextricable connection of modern Russia with its Soviet past
- Marina Knyazeva, Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Success and Anti-success counter to Fate in Russian and American Culture: cinema
One of the provisions in Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” is that “modernity” is closely connected to American culture and worldview, American means “modern”. Huntington outlined the substitution of national cultures by corporate ideology, the pinnacle of which is the category of success. The concept of success equalizes people: it is non-national, not related to gender, geography, it has a scheme: career, wealth, sexual opportunities, freedom of movement. This idea testifies to the vertical construction of society and the predominance of the economic over the emotional. Markers of success are complemented by high social status, rating and authority.
Cinematography of Russia and America explores the phenomenon of success, often referring to the lives of the most successful people. One can compare the film by Paul Thomas Anderson There Will be Blood and the Russian melodrama The Challenge by Klim Shipenko, the first full-length film shot in space by professional cinematographers. Both films feature characters representing established and significant people. The symbol of success is the very field of the heroes’ activity, its prestige and social significance: in the US film – oil production and trade, in the Russian one – the conquest of space.
The film There Will be Blood refers to the fate of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) – an entrepreneur, a leader of the US oil industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. The hero becomes a successful oil producer, but at the price of loneliness and devastation in the finale of the film. In the film The Challenge, the initial tragedy of the heroine Evgenia (Yulia Peresild) is sharply marked, her husband died through her fault. The tape shows a colleague – Nikolaev, a rival in the casting for the flight, he drops out of the race. During the tests in space, the heroine breaks the circle of her suffering, she “lets go” of the past. After returning, at the moment of her success, Nikolaev admits that he deliberately conceded victory to her, took anti-success in order to pull her out of depression. This becomes the starting point of their love. The film says that the generosity shown by him is more important than success. Russian film thus shows a difference in the understanding of success in Russian and American ideology: the American hero measures life with material components, the Russian is redirected to the emotional sphere, the psychological component becomes more significant than the social one.
- Krishen Mehta, Senior Global Justice Fellow, Yale University, New Haven, USA
The Role of Media and Community Organizations in Reuniting a Divided America
The divided American society poses a huge challenge to American media today. Think tanks and media outlets promote contradictory points of view. People tend to listen to their own echo chambers which deepens the divide. The issues of abortion, gun control, LGBT rights, welfare programs, and foreign wars have polarized American society like never before.
How does one address a cultural environment such as this and still seek holistic solutions that are for the common good? Organizations such as the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the Center for International Policy have come up and seek to address issues of foreign and domestic policy in a more peaceful manner. Church groups such as the Ethical Society in New York and the Community Church of Boston are dealing with social issues in order to understand and bridge the divide that exists today in American society. The role of media and community organizations in reuniting America will be discussed.
December 3, Sunday 18.00 (MSK)