Abstracts of the XLVIII International RSACS Conference “American Family in Flux Reflected in Literature, Art and Media”, November 30-December 3, 2022

Plenary session

November 30, 7.00 PM   room 103


  1. Dr.Larisa Mikhaylova

Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University

RSACS Academic Secretary

Introduction of the Plenary Speakers and the schedule of the conference


  1. Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Past President, World Communication Association

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies

Indiana University, Bloomington, U.S. A.

 Portrayals of the American Family in Print  Media:  ‘Cells of Consciousness and Quilts of Reality’

“Each member of the family in his own cell of consciousness, each making his own patchwork quilt of reality—collecting fragments of experience, here, pieces of information there.”

—Toni Morrison

Once upon a time,  over fifty years ago, it was easy for Americans to define what is a family. Today, however, technology, educational attainment,  and shifting values and attitudes have profoundly  changed  the definition (s)  of  family,  leading to more diverse views of what constitutes an American family.  But what are some social  and cultural trends that intersect to promote changes in family life? Why do such trends matter?   And what are the implications  of such trendlines for the larger society and our place in it?  Although the reasons are complex and various, part of the answer lies in the way newspapers and magazines frame the nature, structure,  and idea  of the American family.

This presentation examines the way select newspapers and magazines frame trends and patterns of American family life through the specific lens of a thematic cluster analysis.  An analysis  of articles and editorials have much to recommend, because they can  reveal perceptions of  what  diverse  families share in common,  as well as suggest what is strategically significant in holding American society together and sustaining citizenship and  collective familial bonds. Newspaper articles and editorials  in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Post form the basis of the analysis,  augmented by literature from the Pew Research Center.  My major emphasis is on the words authors and editors  use to talk about the American family and how the words work. The end  goal is to see how editors and writers view the American family  in the twenty-first century.


  1. Dr. Maria Zolotukhina

Associate Professor

Sociocultural Practices Chair,Department of Culture Studies

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

The New American Dream: changing values of parenting and parenthood

To launch a child into adulthood right at the time of entering college (and via doing that) has been one of the fundamental values of American middle class – vague as this category may appear. It served as the criteria for successful parental efforts of upbringing and its tangible result – an independent person, already focused on his or her own future success, separated from the family of origin. What seems to have changed quite significantly over the past decades are both the time frame of growing up and the criteria for achieving adulthood thus calling into question the very philosophy of life for Americans. The good old formula – “leave your home, become independent, live the American dream” – that served so well as a universal cultural imperative, while remaining recognizable, has lost its immutable character. Therefore parenthood and parenting as a project changed their rather substantiative qualities: in what constitutes being child-centered now, how is independence and autonomy taught and – most of all – what is the new understanding of affection and its manifestations. Such profound changes can not but influence the core elements of American childhood – an ideal space for a child at home, means of learning financial independence and charity, the notion of privacy and self-esteem and achievement. New types of parenting having become media mems (helicopter parenting. Tiger moms, bulldozer parenting etc ) create both moral panics (boomerang children never leaving home once they are back) and bring about condescending smiles. Emerging adultdood – a term coined by Jeffrey Arnett as a phenomenon even made insurance companies extend their policies up to age 24-25. Covid pandemic of 2020 and 2021 seems only to have reinforced the already existing new patterns without fully doing away with the old ones creating a new version of the American dream.

The presentation is based on long time included observation, media sources and interviews.


Section 1. Journalism

Coordinator Dr.Andrei Ruskin (Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

December 1, Thursday  3 PM – 4.30 PM room 103


  1. Andrei Ruskin

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The Family Subject Coverage by the US Local Media: a comparative analysis based on the 2022 daily newspapers publications

Publications in regional newspaper-type dailies on family topics in the broad sense of this issue have been constantly presented. Even in local newspapers, which began to be published in the XIX century and even earlier, the topics of family culture and relations between spouses, approaches to raising children, principles of household management, family property and inheritance of fortunes have always been raised. Invariably, newspapers reflected all sorts of intra-family conflicts when they became public, and even more so if it affected famous people. Another topic that American journalists dealt with thoroughly was related to the study of family unions that arose at the junction of different races, religions, cultures, traditions, estates and social classes. In recent years, publications about single-parent families and their problems, marriages between representatives of both the same sex and without gender indication, social support for low-income and disadvantaged families, families of new immigrants and migrants, refugees have increasingly appeared in the materials of local publications. The aim of the study was to determine whether there are pointed differences in the coverage of the family topic in newspapers of different states and, if so, which ones and how it is presented, whether or not it is related to the geographical factor, or the economic situation of a certain region of the USA. To conduct the study, a sample of 50 local publications was selected (one for each state). As criteria for the sample, factors such as publication in traditional paper and electronic form, daily frequency (at least five issues per week), the universal nature of newspapers (non-specialized) were taken into account. Only those publications were searched where the topic of family (or its derivatives) was not just mentioned, but also considered in detail (thus, the predominant genres of the selected publications were articles, reviews, interviews, sometimes reports and editorial columns). As a result of the conducted research on the coverage of the family topic by local newspapers, it was not possible to identify significant differences on a geographical basis. Almost all newspapers paid equal attention to the most significant and topical aspects of this subject. One of the explanations for this conclusion can be considered as the «publisher factor». Many local newspapers are still controlled by large publishing and media holdings, which «recommend» the same approaches to all «their» publications.



  1. Fedor Serdotetsky

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Genre and Thematic Features of the American Media Platform Twitch.Tv and Family Image On This Service


American platform Twitch.tv as a youth media platform  The topic of the report is the genre and thematic features of journalistic content on the American streaming platform Twitch.tv and the policy of this service regarding statements about new types of families in the United States.  The problem of the study is due to the difference between traditional media, which are used mainly by the older audience, and youth media, whose main consumers are young people under 35 years old, as well as the promotion of new ethical standards. The idea behind this study is to argue that streaming platforms and Twitch.tv in particular are extremely popular media sources among young people. For the report, foreign and Russian Twitch channels were selected, which are divided into the following categories: official media accounts, accounts of political journalists and accounts of video gaming magazines. The random sampling method was used for selection. On the example of these channels, genre diffuseness and hybridization of classical genres were revealed. Such genre specificity and format are unique to media content intended for a young audience. In addition, censorship of statements against the new type of families in the United States was revealed. Moreover, the study of Twitch channels revealed the existence of a complex hypermedia genre, which, thanks to new technological capabilities, combines the properties of all classical media at once, as well as the modified interactive property of new media, and promotes the speech culture inherent in youth into the digital space. The American platform Twitch.tv is a platform with great potential for journalism, as this service is an example of a fundamentally new type of content distribution, as well as interaction with the audience. However, at the same time, there is censorship on the platform aimed at the creators and consumers of content.


  1. Nikolai Zykov

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Reflection of Family Values in the Materials of The Voice Of America

The topic of family values is regularly covered by the oldest US international broadcaster. Its main task is to familiarize listeners with the issues of social structure, social institutions, the most important of which is the family. The theme of the family was reflected along with the problems of employment, everyday life, the economy, and the culture of interpersonal relations. And now the broadcaster’s website pays considerable attention to it. Both informational and analytical materials have been published on this topic. The life of families of Americans with Russian roots is especially often covered. At present, Russian-speaking citizens living in different countries make up a significant part of the audience of the Russian service. Also, the Russian department regularly covers the issues of the political life of immigrants from Russia, Russian-speaking Americans, for example, their participation in election campaigns at various levels. Emphasis is placed on family support. In recent years, information projects on social life, economy and culture have been successfully developed. They also reflect family values. Americans consider the family to be the most important social institution. Materials on a family theme became an event and gained great popularity among the audience.


  1. Andrei Ruskin

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The Family Factor as one of the Aspects of US media coverage of the 2022 election campaign

The election campaign of 2022 in the USA took place in a difficult environment. Firstly, it was an election in the context of a pandemic that has not yet fully ended. Secondly, it was to a certain extent a «referendum» on the confidence of Americans in the Democratic Party, which, following the results of the previous 2020 elections, managed to get not only a majority in both chambers of Congress, but also to take «control» over the White House, which was disputed and opposed by Republicans. Thirdly, the election campaign was conducted in conditions of a significant increase in fuel and other goods prices, inflation, social tension caused by the migrant crisis. All these topics were widely covered by the US media during the pre-election campaign. Candidates of both parties built their election campaign strategies as a set of responses to emerging social and economic challenges. Most opinion polls before the election day «predicted» a significant victory in the 2022 elections for the Republican Party candidates. But the results were different. In the Senate, the Democrats managed to maintain a majority, and in the House of Representatives the advantage of the Republicans was minimal. Immediately after the election, much number of publications about the deep crisis in the Republican Party appeared in the US media. There are many reasons for this crisis. But one of the significant factors that prevented the Republicans from getting a major success was the problem of family planning. This topic was covered in detail by journalists. The society negatively perceived the decision of the Supreme Court made in June (24), 2022 (most of the judiciary are conservatives), as well as the decisions of the Supreme Courts of a number of states to ban the right of women to decide on the termination of pregnancy themselves. In 2022, this topic was linked not so much with the religious component as with the economic one, especially in the current very difficult economic realities. The Democratic candidates managed to make this issue one of the key subjects in the inter-party struggle and again they could receive broad support from their traditional voters, among whom there are still many supporters of civil liberties and rights.


Section 2. American Culture of the 17th –19th Centuries

Coordinator Dr. Boris Maximov (Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

December 1, Thursday  5.30 AM- 9.00 PM.


  1. Irina Khruleva, Vladimir Pavlov

History Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The Role of the Mather family of Puritan ministers in the Religious and Political Life of Colonial New England


The report considers the multifaceted influence exerted by the authoritative Mather family on the religious and socio-political life of the Puritan New England in the 17th and 18Ith centuries. The focus is on the life and work of Increase and Cotton Mather, who left a rich theological heritage and took an active part in the key events of the political life of Massachusetts in the second half of the 17th – first quarter of the 18th century. Their example clearly shows the transition in Puritan rhetoric from strict demands for the observance of the Divine Covenant to upholding the rights and freedoms of American colonists.


  1. Boris Maximov

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The Shadow of the Frontier and Domesticity in the tales of A. Bierce

Through the example of A. Bierce`s gothic tales, the paper explores the impact of the experience and ideology of the frontier on the domestic, family life of Gilded Age Americans

1 Attitudes towards land and home in American culture have been ambivalent for a long time. On the one hand, the pioneer hopes to find a new homeland in the New World; on the other hand, he has no connection to his location, neither to its agricultural prehistory, nor to the ashes of his fathers, nor to his religious tradition. The home is meant to be an outpost of civilisation, a symbol of subjugation of a hostile virgin land. However the early American “Gothic”, beginning with C.B. Brown, emphasises the instability and permeability of the house, its vulnerability towards hostile elements (unlocked doors and open windows play a fatal role in Bierce’s stories). The farmstead and the goldminer’s hovel are under the constant threat of devolution. As soon as the cultural hero interrupts his civilising work or slackens his building or cultivating activities, the rebellious nature turns everything upside down.     2 The offensive logic of the frontier eliminates any delay, both evolutionarily and spatially, so the house (and its natural and man-made semblances – ravine, cave, trench) in Bierce’s stories can be identified with a dead end, a deadly trap, a grave – here Bierce’s protagonists, immobile, stopped in their tracks, literally suffocate. Overall, years of struggle and nomadism wean the colonists (and soldiers) away from home and family.  Returning to peaceful life, Bierce’s characters inertially bring in the conflicted and dichotomous mindset of the invader (which provokes outbreaks of violence and, in the extreme case, intrafamily homicides).     3. Besides, the marching life of the pioneer and soldier, full of threats, speeds up the current of time: he pays for his advancement in space with his youth.  Bierce’s young conquerors are all marked by the stamp of premature aging. His heroes leave the family too early and come back too late: they  grow old on the frontier and retain an infantile, idealised idea of home, they remain unripe for marriage, parenthood and home-building. According to Bierce, the pioneer or military man who has managedto return homeis destined to be a ghost, a living dead: to those around him he is but an anachronism, he remains unrecognised, not heard and not understood.


Section 3. Contemporary American Culture

Coordinator Dr. Yuri Stulov  (Minsk, Belarus)

December 1, Thursday, 10.00 AM – 4.00 PM


  1. Tatyana Belova

Department of Philology

Lomonosov Moscow State University. Russia

Modernist Poetics as a Crucial Means of Depicting the Tragic Decay of a Southern Aristocratic Compsons’ Family in W.Faulkner’s Novel  The Sound and the Fury (1929)

Describing the tragic decay of a once honoured and distinguished Compsons’ family, W.Faulkner states an idea that a rejection of ancestors’ notion honour and dignity, religious and moral values may lead its members to dipsomania (elder Compson and Mory), greed and stinginess, cruelty and severity (Jason), callous selfishness (mother), asocial beheviour (Quentine), degeneracy (Benjy) and even to committing suicide (Quentin).

The use of the modernist poetic’s achievements, i.e. a stream of consciousness, removing the chronology of narration, demonstrating Time and Space as discrete objects; also his art of arrangement of the book program (montage), as well as the impressionistic approach in description of heroes’ feelings, emotions, sensations, the wealth of colours, sounds, odours as well as symbolic images and leit-motives help the author artistically reveal the essence of the matter – the theme of the Compsons’ decay as well as the theme of the incredible suffering of the heroes.


  1. Elena Gnezdilova

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

American Wedding Song in J. Salinger’s Novel Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

The report is devoted to the theme of family and seed values in J. Salinger’s novel «Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters». Having made the title of the story a line from the epithalamium of the ancient Greek poetess Sappho, the writer presented his ironic version of the “wedding song”, describing the unforeseen circumstances that arise during the marriage of Simor and Muriel. Comparing the values and views of the fairly intelligent Glass family, to which the groom belongs, and the philistine world of the bride’s family, the author examines the dangers that await an extraordinary person in modern society. The theme of the search for values and value orientations is one of the key ones in this story, as in other works by Salinger. But in this work it seems interesting to identify the features of the transformation of family values, relationships within one family and relationships between young people creating a new family.


  1. Ekaterina Webster

History Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Daniel Webster

Open University of Great Britain, Great Britain

Modern American attitudes towards “non-American” familial traditions and practices as presented through reality TV

It is the goal of this paper to highlight some of the attitudes which modern Americans have towards the familial traditions and customs practiced by non-Americans through the use of the popular American reality TV program “90 Day Fiancé”. We shall do this by considering a number of aspects, including, the attitude of Americans towards expected compliance with non-American familial practices, the expectation of none-Americans in their compliance with American familial and cultural standards. We shall highlight the general sense of hypocrisy between these two points and the arguments made by both Americans and non-Americans as to who should adopt certain practices and why. Finally, we shall sum up how this helps us to gain a clearer understanding of the self-perception of Americans towards their own culture, country and history and how this is further reinforced toward the almost all-American audience when packaged into the reality TV format and presented as a form of sensationalized drama.


  1. Irina Kudryavtseva

Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

Family Aspects in B.A. Mason’s Fiction

In the paper I will concentrate on the specificity of family discourse in the fiction of the contemporary American author Bobbie Ann Mason who said in an interview: “The family’s my source; my anchor, my way of finding out what’s going on with people and connecting with the region” (qtd. in The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story / Ed. Blanche H. Gelfant, Lawrence Graver. – New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. – P. 360). In her novels and short stores Mason explores the validity of traditionalist family values in contemporary society, the role of mass media in shaping the image of family and marriage, the importance of family connections after the breakup of the marriage, how to overcome a family crisis, and other issues.


  1. Natalia Kuznetsova

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Attempts to replace the lost family in S. King’s collection of novellas Different Seasons

Stephen King’s series of novellas looks deeper into the problem of the weakening or loss of family ties in the face of external (financial, cultural) well-being (i.e. marital infidelity / parental cruelty or indifference). As a result of the disconnection from the family, the hero is rejected not only from his or her home, but also from general social laws. Trying to make up for the loss, he creates new ties, and the people who are close to him (because of extraordinary and criminal events) become a substitute for his lost relatives. The result is an alliance based not on social (blood) relationships, but on a stronger bond of shared secrecy and oaths. In this union, roles are distributed according to traditional family functions (provider/guardian), and the bond is so strong that the death of one can lead to the mutual destruction of the other. The report will analyze the conditions under which old family ties are lost and new ones are created, as well as the validity of this kind of replacement.x


  1. Galina Kovalenko

Russian State Institute of Performing Arts

St.-Petersburg, Russia

The Last Play by Edward Albee Me, Myself & I as a Family Farce

Albee’s Last Play ‘Me, Myself & I’ as a family farce showed a modern broken family traditionally, but in a new genre of farce with show elements. Turning to the poetic of absurd, masterly using verbal puzzles, Albee mercilessly highlighted the idea of loss of identity, the desire for existential loneliness on the example of family.


  1. Natalia Kopytko

Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

Family Bonds as a Blessing and a Burden in J.C. Oates’s Novel Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars

The paper considers the significant aspects of family bonds and the way they are represented in the novel “Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars” (2020) by the contemporary American author J.C.Oates. The special emphasis is made on the analysis of emotional and psychological reactions of the family members and their perception of the tragedy that happened to John Earl McLaren, the head of the family, at the outset of the novel.


  1. Yao Yuan

Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

The Conflict between the American Dream and Chinese Family Values in the novel Typical American by Gish Jen

The paper discusses the concept “American Dream” in Gish Jen’s novel “Typical American” that describes the life of Chinese immigrants “Chang-Kees” in the USA focusing on the process of self-identification of the Americanized Chinese immigrants. It addresses the influence of the American dream and American values of individualism and success on their mindset as well as conflicts between American values and Chinese family values (pay more attention there is given to the spiritual aspect, care of family members and help to each other). After the tragedy the Chang-Kees finally realized that the American dream and the Chinese family values should be balanced.


  1. Kirill Veselkin

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

A Lacanian Reading of Paternity and Maternity in David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest

The central conflict of the novel Infinite Jest (1996) written by an American writer David Foster Wallace is built around the search for a secret cartridge with a film that people die from watching, created by James O. Incandenza, the father of the family of the main character of the novel Hal Incandenza, a seventeen–year-old tennis player who personifies the “turn-of-the-century tragedy” in post-industrial America of the new millennium. At the beginning of the novel, the reader learns about the mysterious self-decapitation of the father of the family and further tries to uncover his motives for death and the creation of a deadly film. Based on multiple references to William Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’, the novel refers to the collisions in this play, where events are built around a family conflict. Creating his novel as a response to the expanding culture of total individualism and value relativism, Wallace, using the example of a private family, exposes the socio-cultural decline of the American nation, showing what happens when a symbolic beginning disappears in culture. Being deeply aware of psychoanalytic research, Wallace models the theoretical notions of Lacanian psychoanalysis through collisions in the novel. Exploring the concepts of addiction and pleasure, to which the culture of late capitalism constantly appeals, Wallace grotesquely implements the problem of loss of identity through the physical death of the father of the family and overcoming dependence on the mother, that becomes the unifying leitmotif of the novel. According to Wallace, in the culture of the end of the XX century, the Symbolic order disappears – the language of the Other, the sign indicating the border, i.e., the Law that is formalized in the figure of the Big Other – the Father, God, who stands between the child’s desire to merge with the mother, who cannot completely separate the identity with the child. The culture of capitalism washes away the Symbolic order, depriving any sign of value, thereby a person is faced with an empty signifier. This leads to silence, the impossibility of communication with people and the world, bottles up a person in himself, depriving the value of the Other, and thus any desire cannot be released, which leads a person to semantic emptiness, i.e., e. existential crisis and solipsism.


  1. Alla Nikoulina

Akmulla Bashkir State Pedagogical Univerity, Ufa, Russia

The Family Image as a Way of Philosophical Conceptualization of Reality in Rebecca Goldstein’s Novel The Mind-Body Problem

Rebecca Goldstein, a professional philosopher, grounds her novels on well-known philosophical theories quite intentionally, believing that the perception of a work of art leads the reader to a deeper understanding of the world than abstract logical reflection. Thus, in her most famous novel The Mind-Body Problem (1983), she refers to Descartes’ philosophy, giving the main character the meaningful name of Renee. Despite her unequivocal recognition of Descartes’ prominence as an investigator of the mind problem, Rebecca Goldstein, however, does not accept the mechanistic explanation of the way the material and spiritual substances interact in his teaching. Creating an image of a young American girl, who is torn between religion and philosophy, intuition and reason, the author demonstrates the impossibility of achieving inner harmony in a situation of constant swinging from extreme to extreme. Renee’s split consciousness is fully revealed to the reader in the story of her marriage to Noam Himmel, who embodies the Platonic idealistic principle in the novel. The family life does not go well, leading both spouses from one disappointment to another until Renee discovers a Spinozist approach to the reality that helps her to find a way to a practical combination of reason and feeling, freedom and care for another person. The new philosophy allows the main character to preserve her family, as well as to gain inner integrity and confidence in the future.


  1. Olga Nesmelova, Zhanna Konovalova

Kazan Federal University, Russia

Father Image in non-fiction of the 1990s by G. Talese and Ph. Roth

The literary process of the USA at the turn of the 20-21 centuries demonstrates a steady trend towards an organic fusion of fiction and nonfiction. On the one hand, during this period, some representatives of the New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s continue their experiments with literary nonfiction. On the other hand, fiction demonstrates a “turn” towards autobiography and factual reliability. This paper addresses the peculiarities of the representation of the image of the father in documentary novels by G. Talese Unto the Sons (1992) and Ph. Roth Patrimony (1991). Both G. Talese and Ph. Roth in their literary nonfiction often turn to the problems of the search for national identity, which is also connected with their origin. In the book Unto the Sons, G. Talese dwells upon the history of his own family that emigrated to the United States from Italy shortly before World War II, focusing on the image of his own father, whom he presents as the embodiment of the national type of self-made man. Ph. Roth also recreates the history of his own family, describing it as an ordinary family of Jewish immigrants who settled in the USA at the beginning of the twentieth century. Patrimony focuses on the serious illness and death of the writer’s father, which make him plunge into philosophical reflections on life and death, national history and identity. Based on the material of these works, the authors of the paper consider the synthesis of fiction and nonfiction in G. Talese’s and Ph. Roth’s creative work, in particular, in terms of transformation of a real person into a literary hero.


  1. Ekaterina Sadovskaya

Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

Twisted Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Relations between Generations

Reality in the novels and short stories of the famous author Neil Gaiman seems twisted and creepy. Both adults and children experience extreme fear while reading his works but still cannot resist the temptation to look behind the closed doors in his books such as “Coraline,” or “The Graveyard Book,” or “Neverwhere”. The writer juxtaposes the new and the old, the modern and the ancient,  and the well-known and the mysterious. They can be interpreted as the symbols of the relations between different generations.  N. Gaiman does the same with the relations between the parents and the children whose real and imaginary realities clash and whose lives get intertwined and only the immersion into the distorted world is capable of bringing the families back together.


  1. Egor Shapovalov,

Journalism Department Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Family themes in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson and reframing certain archetypal images of classical American cinema

Paul Thomas Anderson, one of prominent American cinematographers of the Millennials generation the  pays emphasized attention to formal aspects of his films, thoroughly pursuing and developing classical cinematic heritage. However, despite the deceptively familiar methods, his films do no lend themselves to precise genre classification and appear to be largely beyond the scope of any artistic trend. His original approach to working with cultural and ideological codes of classical Hollywood cinema deserves special attention.

In each of Anderson’s films, cultural and historical details are carefully worked out. Yet, many critics note that this cultural background is of secondary importance, since the focus is on the unique psychological experiences, which are timeless in nature. Also there are studies indicating recurring motif of surrogate family and engagement with a symbolic father-figure. However, a careful analysis of Anderson’s Hard Eight (1996), Magnolia (1999), There Will Be Blood (2007), The Master (2012) and Licorice Pizza (2021) may lead to a conclusion that creative elaboration of surrogate family problems in his films is inextricably linked to certain cultural context in each particular case. All the minor details, cinematic references, outplaying genre clichés as well as formalist experiments with the classical legacy have a definite meaning.

Anderson doesn’t just use expressive means and stylistic borrowings as decorative elements but reveals archetypal images and ideological framework of Hollywood cinema. This approach allows to get out from under the hidden influence of these cultural codes and thus to concentrate on conveying unique and genuine personal experiences.



Section 4. Ethnic Aspects of American Culture

Coordinator Dr. Oxana Danchevskaya (Moscow State Pedagogical University, Russia)

December 2, Friday  10.00 AM – 1.30 PM


  1. Oxana Danchevskaya

Moscow State Pedagogical University, Russia

American Indian Family in the 21st Century

Family for American Indians is traditionally one of the main values, but in the 21st century, changes have affected them as well. The author will examine the features of Native American family relations in a historical perspective, provide and analyze the latest statistics on a range of issues related to this ethnic group in the United States, highlight the main problems within this topic, and will also present the view of American Indians themselves on the family today.


  1. Firdes Dimitrova

Independent researcher, Russia

Traditional healing in American Indigenous family

Traditional healing among American Indians has its own specifics, history and rituals. In modern fiction, authors of Indian origin give us examples of healing that leads to the physical and spiritual rebirth of their literature characters. Healing rituals, undergoing changes over time, remain an effective tool in Native American families. Among the traditional types of healing are divination, use of natural elements, herbs and tobacco, prayer, singing, dancing, storytelling, ceremonies. They work in an amazing way, they are being kept a secret, and many Native Americans were against their disclosure to “white” people.


  1. Daria Kovaleva

RAS Institute of  World History, Moscow, Russia

The Effect of Anti-German Sentiment on German-American Cultural Identity during  the WW1

The report proposes to analyze how the First World War changed the cultural identity of the largest group of non-English-speaking minorities in the United States. According to census data in 1910, about nine percent of the American population was born in Germany or had German ancestry, which meant the highest percentage among any ethnic group. The German language remained the main link of the cultural heritage of this ethnic group. During the First World War, it became dangerous to be an “American written with a hyphen”. There were cases of internment, the German language was banned, the German-American press was severely censored, German books were removed from library shelves, various German-American organizations were closed. Everything German was perceived with hostility. In the end, this led to the adoption of discriminatory laws, programs, for example, the Ake Law was passed in Ohio in 1919, the attitude towards German-Americans deteriorated markedly. Thus, the First World War again caused an outbreak of nativism, which were directed at German-Americans and, in particular, against the German language.


  1. Irina Udler

Chelyabinsk State University, Russia

Theme of the Family in the Slave Narratives of the Last Third of the 18th century

The slave narratives by James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw (1772), Ottobah Cugoano (1787), Olaudah Equiano (1789) were created by Africans sold into slavery and delivered on slave ships to the New World and England. All the narrators experienced what slavery is in America, and all three gained freedom and became English citizens. The highest achievement of the genre of slave narrative in the last third of the 18th century was The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself O. Equiano which served as a genre model for works of the 19th century.

An important place in these narratives is occupied by the theme of the family related to the topic of African roots. Already in the titles, the authors indicate their African names and surnames and identify themselves as Africans. Everyone calls the place of birth in Africa, knows his parents raised and brought them up and emphasizes his noble origin and upbringing corresponding to his origin. Children’s and adolescent years of life in the family are related to the theme and image of Africa. Geographical and ethnographic descriptions of nature, climate, social order, economy, work, everyday life, clothing, mores, family relations, relations between men and women, language, beliefs, rites, dances, music, musical instruments, songs are permeated with deep love for Africa and Africans. There is an image of the lost Paradise. The authors have preserved love and affection for their historical homeland for life.


  1. Irina Morozova

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

The Theme of Family Breakdown in Anne Petry’s Novel  The Street

The Street (1946), the best-known novel by the African-American writer Ann Petry, is one of the works with a strong social agenda. Using the life of a young woman as an example, she shows the desperation of urban black life in the 1940s. The writer shows how unbearable living conditions gradually destroy not only the family of the main character, but also cancel generally the very principles on which it should be based. The paper will highlight the main problems associated with the representation of family breakdown in the African American community in the novel by Ann Petry.


  1. Yuri Stulov

Independent researcher

Minsk, Belarus

Conflict between Family Values During the Civil Rights Movement (on the example of “Cotillion” by J.O. Killens)

John Oliver Killens belongs to the group of  African American writers who took a radical stand concerning the issue of the position of African Americans in US society insisting on “Black Is Beautiful!”. He revisits the life of A.S. Pushkin presenting him as a genius with African roots and showing the role which African blood played in his tragic life. The novel “Cotillion” refers to the era of the Civil Rights movement during which African Americans became divided on the issue of their future and attitude to America. On the example of one family, the writer depicts the dramatic choice that every member of this small community has to make and reveals the moral aspect of the conflict between generations, integrationalists and separatists. There appears the divisive line between mother and father, daughter and mother, especially when the daughter gets involved with a young man who is rejected by the mother who tried to manipulate her husband and daughter representing people who refuse to live according to the standards of the white racist society.


  1. Irina Shchepacheva

Kazan Federal University, Russia

Image of African American Family in the Novels by Percival Everett

In almost all of his novels, the contemporary African American writer Percival Everett (b. 1956) addresses family issues. In the novel Glygh (1999), the writer draws readers’ attention to the image of mother, who influences the formation of the protagonist’s personality and helps him accept his racial identity. In the 2009 novel I am Not Sydney Poitier, on the contrary, the writer refers to the image of his father, though he does it in an ironic way. Since the protagonist has not known anything about his father since childhood, it means he does not actually know a part of himself. He makes several attempts to find a potential father in order to know his roots and his own identity. The novels American Desert (2004) and Erasure (2001) are devoted to the destruction of the family and family relationships. If in the novel American Desert, the protagonist copes with his internal contradictions and thereby manages to save his family, then in the last novel, the main character’s internal conflict becomes so dramatic that it leads to the complete destruction of his family relationships. In both cases, the writer describes not only internal conflicts but external circumstances which influence family relationships, such as racial discrimination by the white population, social stereotypes based on the characters’ race, the problem of racial intolerance among African Americans, etc.


  1. Dmitry Vorobyov

RAS Institute of the UA and Canada, Moscow, Russia

The problem of portraying Black families in American media

Many scholars maintain a point of view that the root of the modern problems of African American families is the destructive legacy of the period of slavery in the US history. Modern media report endlessly about such problems of the African American families like high levels of poverty, the problem of single mothers or crime. This kind of presentation of information leads to the fact that listeners and viewers may get the impression that all these problems are characteristic only of the Black population of the USA, which is certainly not true. The American media’s tradition of focusing on the problems of Black people can unexpectedly do more harm than good in the future, leaving the successes of the African American community in the shadow of failures. Against this background, a number of television series and sitcoms focus primarily on positive examples of the well-being of African American families, the problems and experiences of which are close to all Americans, regardless of skin color.


  1. Stephania Korshunova

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

African-American Ethnic Influence in the Evolution of Modern Dance

America is a country where many types of dancing originated, directly depending on the ethnic aspects of the country’s culture. Perhaps the most striking example present African-American dances, the emergence of which had a huge impact on the entire modern dance world.  For centuries, Africans have used dance for various rituals and celebrations. As slaves in America, Africans danced to remember and honor the traditions of their culture. When banned from dancing, they still continued but the character of movements changed. In African tribes, the main movements consisted in lifting the legs, and in order not to attract too much attention to themselves, the slaves modified their dances and emphasized the movements of the torso and arms. North Carolina became the main center for the development of African-American dances, as well as cultural exchange between the white and black populations. Later, African-American dance took to the stage and to the clubs. In the 1930s, American art, especially dance, was born anew in African-American culture.  In the 1950s, African-American dancers began to perform in the ballet of modern dance. A famous Pearl Primus began to promote ethnic dances. A review of the main stages of such influence is presented in the paper.



Section 5. Gender Aspects of American Culture

Coordinators Dr. Nadezhda Shvedova (RAS Institute of the USA and Canada, Moscow, Russia) and Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

December 3, 10.30 AM-3.30 PM



  1. Ekaterina Webster

Lomonosov Moscow State University, History Department, Russia

Republican Virtue and Family in American Revolution Era New England

This paper concerns itself with certain aspects of Republican virtue as a concept. It will cover the following topics: the birth and development of said concept, its influence on the understanding of the image of a perfect family, and the specificity of its application in New England during the American Revolution. American thinkers, following the ideas of Montesquieu, tended to choose a Republic as the most preferable political model. It is not possible though to build a Republic without the Republican way of life, based on republican virtue. In the political rhetoric of the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary era certain “familial” analogies were used quite often by both American and European thinkers. The idea of a perfect family in this discourse is being changed. A notion of the necessity of mutual consent is being introduced into the overall understanding of family structures in the 18th century. Marriage is now viewed as a contract not between the two families, but between the spouses themselves. The ideal of a woman, her place and role in the revolutionary process is now being described with the concept of Republican Motherhood. Women become the primary keepers of the Republican ideals. In New England the overall concept of Republican virtue is being planted onto the soil laid down by the first settlers, escaping to the American colonies from religious persecution, and fertilized by the first Great Awakening in 1730-1750s. In making of this paper multiple types of sources were used: private sources (diaries, correspondence), periodicals, pamphlets, religious literature (sermons, other literature).


  1. Anna Sebryuk

National Research University HSE, Moscow, Russia

The Ideal Mother: the Concept of Republican Motherhood in the U.S.

The study investigates Republican Motherhood, the ideology that spread shortly before the start of the American Revolutionary War. It represents a belief that mothers should raise their children with the principles of republicanism, thus making them perfect citizens of the emerging country. Republican Motherhood also defines a period in American history when the role of women changed from just conducting typical domestic responsibilities to passing on the values of morality and civic duty.  The author will talk about the influence of Republican Motherhood on American history and culture and its most prominent representatives, such as Abigail Adams, Lydia Sigourney, and Catharine Maria Sedgwick.


  1. Larisa Baibakova

Lomonosov Moscow State University, History Department, Russia

 Evolution of family values in the era of Early Industrial Modernization in the USA (late 19th- early 20th centuries

The process of industrial modernization that began in the USA at the end of the nineteenth century, symbolized by multimillion cities, transcontinental railways, trusts and skyscrapers, led to a change in the lifestyle of the population and caused a reassessment of family values. The rapid change in the nature of production, technological innovations, the emergence of purely “ladies'” professions (teachers, saleswomen, secretaries, telephone operators, etc.) opened up new opportunities for American women to express themselves, thereby blurring the foundations of family ties. Among the main trends in changing family and marriage relations, were a doubling of the birth rate and a threefold increase in the number of divorces prevailed due to new ideas about marriage based on personal choice and romantic love. The American Birth Control League, founded in 1921, laid the foundations for modern family planning policy.


  1. Nadezhda Shvedova

RAS Institute of the USA and Canada, Moscow, Russia

The USA Family in the Context of the 2022 Midterm Election

The topic of fulfilling family and parenting responsibilities, along with others, attracted special attention of the public and the media in the context of the 2022 US midterm elections. First, the family is of paramount importance for most Americans of both sexes, along with other priorities (work, material welfare, health). Secondly, Republicans and Democrats tend to “draw the meaning of life” from their families and friends, not forgetting about career and material well-being. Thirdly, the pandemic has exposed chronic, “painful” points associated with the division of household duties and responsibilities within married couples, especially in connection with the closure of many schools and childcare facilities. Fourth, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in the US economy, including a large gender gap. It was women who suffered a disproportionate share of the costs of overcoming the difficulties of the challenges that arose.

Father involvement and gender equality in the United States is a topic that is widely discussed in American society. The focus is on how fatherhood is viewed today, why fathers are not more involved, what gender norms prevail in parenting, what barriers in the workplace prevent fathers from becoming more involved. Family, work and gender issues, with a focus on gender inequality, show that women are at a disadvantage in both paid and domestic work, in large part because they are primarily responsible for household chores.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequalities, making the challenge of reducing gender inequalities even more pressing. Fathers play an important role in facilitating and possibly reducing gender disparities, but the barriers to their participation in family life have received less attention than the detailing of the problems mothers face. With men equally involved in all aspects of family life, women’s burdens could be reduced and perceptions of who is responsible for raising children could change, leading to greater gender equality. The experts note a stable trend towards an increased desire of fathers to be more involved parents.

The announcement (October) ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that more than half of all states have expanded access to 12-month Medicaid and post-pregnancy child health insurance (CHIP) coverage marks critical progress in the implementation of the Democratic Administration’s Maternity Protection Plan J. Biden-K. Harris, a comprehensive strategy to improve maternal health, especially in underserved communities.

The family as an institution in the United States is a complex mosaic of intertwined colors of influences and peculiarities. At almost every turn of the electoral cycle, it is subjected to a close test and assessment of its existence and realities.



  1. Tatyana Kamarovskaya

Maxim Tank Belarussian State Pedagogical University, Minsk, Belarus

The Role of the Family in the Formation of Woman Identity in Mary Gordon’s Novel Payback (2020)

Mary Gordon’s Novel Payback is based on the opposition of lives and personalities of two heroines: Agnes who grew up in the atmosphere of perfect love in her family and Heidi who knew only perfect indifference on her father’s side and perfect dislike – on her mother’s. Heidi was a clever proud girl whose main feelings were hatred and readiness to strike back, who despised the whole world. She was quite unlovable, and had no friends.

Agnes and Heidi met in the school for girls from rather wealthy families where Agnes taught and  Heidi was a pupil. Their relations, the following conflict and its consequences for Agnes’ life and the   formation of Heidi’s woman identity constitute the main theme of the novel.


  1. Dr. Maria Zolotukhina

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

“American Girl”: a Brand, a Project, an Idea

Based on my own previous research (“American girl” – a doll,  a character, an image: the story of one project. //The whole story is filled with childhood” Moscow, Russian State University of Humanities, 2012, see also Lyubov Bugaeva American girl as a project of domestication of history. UFO 2017) my presentation hopes to explore how the American past (and present) is represented in the well-known US brand American Girl (which includes dolls, books, websites, multimedia projects, museum space, etc.) and how the future is being construed. Among the issues to address are the following: which historical eras and events are deemed eligible to represent doll and book characters so that the girls (age 8 – 12, but actually starting younger)  can immerse themselves in the whole world of AG – an ever-increasing variety of transmedia formats, including a recent historical podcast. While the brand remains predominantly heteronormative how do the gender roles play out and what type of behavior is being normalized – given the historical context and how it shapes the present day ideas and values. What happens with the historical characters as the brand develops and who are the Girls of the Year today? How does it all play out as a mechanism of nation-building at the time of an obvious and deepening societal and cultural split in the US – between the political correctness and a much more traditonalist(ic) approach. Looking at the different elements of this brand I  hope to focus on many means of creating identities. The sources include  participant observation, artifacts, books, dolls etc.


  1. Elizaveta Karetina

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Journalism Department, Russia

Family Values in American Cartoons by Walt Disney Studios: Transforming the Images of Princesses

This study analyzes five animated films from the Disney studio and articles related to the analysis of the images of princesses and changes in society as a whole. Several generations of children grew up on the projects of the Walt Disney Studios Corporation (the first film dates back to 1937). The animation company created about 60 projects, 11 of which are dedicated to the fate of princesses. It is the latter that will be discussed in this paper. In the last two decades, there has been a gradual change in the heroines of  children’s favorite cartoons. The most dramatic changes occur not so much in appearance as in the character of the characters. In each new cartoon, more and more obvious changes can be traced: girls become less dependent on the opinions of others and do not seek to get married, preferring to first learn or find their own life path. The reason for such characteristic changes is the desire of Disney to correspond to modern trends in society. A striking example of this is the release in 2012 of the cartoon “Frozen”. The image of Elsa makes it clear how much the company’s policy has changed. Independence and purposefulness are becoming paramount qualities of modern images of princesses. The goals of the new heroines no longer overlap with their predecessors. Marriage does not occupy a leading position in their lives, giving way to self-exploration and development. Thus, we can conclude that changes in family values affected the company’s activities, bringing changes to the character of the heroines, their appearance and attitude in general.


  1. Nikita Makhno

Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Influence of Gender Aspects of Contemporary American Culture on the System of Family Values

The LGBT + community has a significant impact on the formation in its current form.  Now there is active support and a kind of propaganda of the values of the LGBT + community, especially the issue of gender self-identification among children. Now, this aspect is already included in the school system, children from childhood are presented with the idea that they can freely choose their gender without relying on biological signs.  As for the legal field, some states have passed restrictive laws. So, in February 2019, The Federalist magazine reported that South Dakota state lawmakers refused the amendment, which would allow parents to have a decisive vote in prescribing hormonal therapy to the child, suppressing puberty, and in 2022 the state of California passed a law, prohibiting doctors from reporting medical information about the child to parents if it is related to “gender identification,” and parents who oppose the change of sex of their child may be completely deprived of parental rights. In general, in the United States, for the minors are now almost completely available the possibility of gender change, hormone therapy that disrupts natural physiological development.   The dilemma causes large-scale controversy in society, it is divided into conservative and progressive (liberal) parts. To analyze the problem, we will turn to American media of different directions (for example, the The Federalist is a conservative media), which covered the most high-profile precedent today with seven-year-old Texan James Younger, as well as the trial in this case and legislative practice in this sphere. Such a voluminous question requires a careful comparison of two points of view and their arguments in favor of their position, which are actively expressed by the different American media.   Thus, today’s system of family values in the United States is undergoing huge changes caused precisely by issues of gender self-determination among the younger generation, and as precedents have already happened, this actualizes the issue of parental role, and now more importantly — parental rights in this aspect. Even at the current stage, changes in American family foundations are so global that in the next 20-30 years they will have a noticeable impact on the general development of the nation.


  1. Tatjana Srceva-Pavlovska, Ljubica Kardaleska-Radojkova,

American University of Europe-FON, Skopje, North Macedonia

The “Wendy Byrde’s case” defying stereotypical media (mis)representation of the American wife and mother: the person in charge in the Ozarks (2017-2022)

For many decades, television has been communicating the message that men are the authorities and women are not, even though sheer numbers point to a not-so-recent reversal of roles and overturning of the outmoded processes which have outnumbered and outbested men over women in various cases in popular culture. In this respect, in recent years, there has been a dramatic reframing of the established stereotype of conventional femininity in media and the question of women’s dominance has now more than ever become an issue of one’s personal achievement and power, rather than institutional change. Having in mind that family relationships involve certain power issues that particularly reflect gender patterns, this research paper discusses examples of the so-called “Wendy Byrde case” which challenges the examples of outdated stereotypical and conventional femininity, restating the psychology behind women’s ability to take over, overpower, and outsmart the world and become ‘be-alls’, ‘know-alls’ and even ‘do-alls’. By focusing on the main female (prota)antagonist in the TV series Ozark, the paper vivisects the villainous character and mind that strongly oppose those archetypal females present in the four themes that demonstrate how media reflect and promote traditional arrangements between sexes: women’s dependence/male independence; men’s authority/women’s incompetence; women as primary caregivers/men as breadwinners and women as victims and sex objects/men as aggressors.


11.Alina Gulevskaya

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Journalism Department, Russia

Transformation of a traditional media image of women in the USA

The paper is devoted to the problem of changing the traditional media image of the US woman. The issue related to the definition of the concept of a media image, the specifics of the use of the terms representation – image – media image is considered. The features of the traditional representation of American women in the media, film production products, both in modern and in samples of the 20th century, are explored. An attempt is made to trace the evolution of the media image of a woman from the 1950s to the present. The paper analyzes the process of creating a media image of a woman, suggests the factors influencing its construction, describes the archetypal content. It is revealed that the image of a woman is a key figure and a constant of the narrative. A classification of established media images has been proposed and an archetypal correspondence has been established. An assumption is made about the features of the environmental, temporal influence on the construction of a media image.


  1. Milena Rovchanin

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Journalism Department, Russia

Representation of masculinity and femininity in the TV Series Modern Family (2009-2020)

Structures of the given families appear to be traditional and stereotypical at first, yet this may be considered a strategy that allows to challenge and question these arrangements later in the plot. While each and every character has a certain gender-oriented role in the family, the complexity of all personalities which are revealed suggest the idea that no one can fully represent  model masculinity or femininity. Discussion of both extremes as the series gets along also help to prove this point. Media critics noted among the negative features homophobia  due to the couple of Mitch and Cam not showing enough affection in the first seasons of the show.  The second aspect to blame was concerned with maintaining binary stereotypes of male and female: «men are associated with the public sphere while women are associated with the private sphere». (Diane Querrer, 2014) And the third rebuke was for lack of racial representation:. «Modern Family thus reinforces the traditional ideology of the nuclear white family and thereby racial inequality in society». (Myrthe Hilders, 2017). On the basis of close analysis of all the three families dynamics it can be argued that Modern Family takes a more complex look on the subjects. It supports the idea that toughness and money-earning is not what actually makes a «real man» and beautiful clothes and body curves is not what makes a «real woman». Each and every person comprises both masculine and feminine traits with main determinants of them being uniqueness of personality. Gloria’s femininity, for example, is not her beauty, but perseverance, strength of personality and confidence. By confusing the audience and reforming the perception of masculinity and femininity in families is how the show eventually challenges the traditional family ideology.


  1. Larisa Mikhaylova

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Journalism Department, Russia

Families That We Choose: Professional fulfillment in Saving Lives as the Basis for a new level of Family Bonding (on the material of American TV Series of the 21st century)

In addition to the image of family as a reproductive unit of society that raises children, the image of a criminal family has long been rooted in popular culture: a gang of robbers,  gangsters, a mafia family, arranged according to the type of patriarchal Old Testament family, with the indisputable authority of the leader and protection for its members as long as they perform all tasks and blindly protect their “family”. Apparently, due to distinctly negative connotation of such criminal families, often formed around a biological family of leaders and serving solely to enrich them (expressively shown, for example, in F. Coppola’s film The Godfather), not much attention has been given yet in American culture sudies to a new type of family, members of a crew-team of people in extreme professions making sacrifices for each other to maintain the integrity of such a group.

The discourse around the terms of family care and family communication has long been used to involve an interlocutor, an employee of a corporation, into the sphere of influence (corporate coaching), but this is an imitation of care, profit cannot be the basis of a strong personal union. Fundamentalist priests of various denominations also often resort to family discourse in order to assert authority over the flock as “holy fathers”. But in the series about people working in extreme conditions and saving lives, over the past couple of decades, a type of professional team has developed that over and over again fulfills its duty, getting into the most unforeseen situations – firefighters, emergency doctors, policemen . Be it the long-standing (Gray’s Anatomy, NCIS) or the new series (9-1-1, Fire Country, Rookie), the heroes find support precisely in team to fight for the right to do their favorite, albeit dangerous, business – and they often do it against the wishes of their own birth family. Such are the stories of a  Muslim  woman firefighter Marjan Marwani and transgender Paul Strickland (9-1-1: Lone Star). In the 1950s Ray Bradbury feared that television families would replace people’s true connections with each other. But here, obviously, the main connecting element is  a common cause, in the necessity of which people believe and do not see themselves anywhere else besides their favorite team-family. Well-coordinated interaction resulting in saved lives continues to reinforce the feeling of success and connection of mutual assistance that builds a true family for the characters and serves as a strong moral support for the viewers.



Section 6. Fantastic in the Art.

Coordinator Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova (Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

December 3, 4.00 PM-6.00 PM


  1. Maria Kozlova

Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Smolensk birthplace of the American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov

The famous American science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was born in the village of Petrovichi, Shumyachy district of Smolensk region.  We went to the Shumyachy Art Museum, named after F.S. Shurpin, to find materials about his birthplace. The Shumyachy village is 25 kilometres away from Petrovichi. It was in the Shumyachy Museum that the exhibition “The Popularizer of the 20th Century”, dedicated to Isaac Asimov, was opened on April 5, 2016.  The founder of the local history museum in Shumyachy, Valentina Pavlovna Maksimchuk, wrote a letter to Isaac Asimov in 1988. The writer’s response in English and a Russian translation are the main part of the exhibition dedicated to Isaac Asimov.  We went through the archives of the Shumyachy Art Museum and discovered that at the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX centuries the village of Petrovichi was, as one of the old residents said, “a flourishing village”: a two-year college, a post office, hospital, church, three synagogues, two choirs, amateur theatre, where plays by A. Ostrovsky, L. Tolstoy, A. Chekhov and other classics were performed.   The inhabitants of Petrovichi – Russians, Belarussians, Jews, Ukrainians, and Poles – spoke a mixed language with a distinctive, specific accent. The Petrovichi citizens were proud of their belonging to the petty bourgeoisie and they loved their Petrovichi. On Sundays and especially on fair days, they could buy anything at the market. Before the revolution, the inhabitants of Petrovichi did not own any land, only the small gardens of those whose houses were next to the field. Trade and handicrafts were the main occupation of inhabitants of the place.  Also for search of materials we turned to the book “As long as memory lives” (1967) by Isaac Asimov. The writer himself thought that Petrovichi was a big town or even a separate province, and was very disappointed to find out that it was a small town.   In the first part of Isaac Asimov’s autobiography ‘In memory yet green’ in the chapter ‘My ancestors’ we learn that the writer’s ancestor was Yudach. Together with his family and descendants he was a merchant of rye, which was sown in these parts for the winter. The seeds would lie in the ground under a layer of deep snow and such rye was called ‘ozymye’ –‘winter bread’. Sometimes the surname was chosen according to a person’s occupation. So, the writer’s ancestor became Azimov after the name of the winter rye he dealt with.  Isaac Asimov lived in Petrovichi for three years. Fleeing the new revolutionary reality, the Asimovs decided to emigrate to the USA in the summer of 1923.  The memorial stone in Petrovichi is now a reminder of Isaac Asimov, erected on the house where the Asimov family lived.  Since 2012, the Asimov Readings “Discovering the World, the Universe and Asimov’s Books” have been held in Shumyachy. The main purpose of the event is to study the literary heritage of Isaac Asimov, to popularize his work, to understand the significance of his works in the context of the modern domestic science fiction prose. Russian writers Andrei Balabukha, Alexander Zheleznyakov and others were among the guests, participants of the readings in Shumyachy.  There are plans to install a bust of the science fiction writer in Smolensk as part of the “Historical Memory” project. It will join the Literary Alley on Dokuchaev Street in Smolensk. Thus, we can say that the memory of the great American science-fiction writer has been preserved in the small motherland of Isaac Asimov. The writer himself never forgot where he was born and spoke warmly of his native Petrovichi.


  1. Olga Volodina

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

And Robot makes three: AI as a member of a nuclear American family in American cinema

Since the 60s, American science fiction has considered the robot in the family as more of an assistant – in the role of a servant (“Forbidden Planet”, the animated series “The Jetsons”), a pet (“Sleeper”, the original “Battlestar Galactica”). In the contemporary science fiction works, there is a certain shift for robotы: along with their traditional roles they also become full-fledged members of the family, especially of the traditional nuclear family. The robot takes place of a family member – whether a child (“Toys”, “AI: Artificial Intelligence”, “Extant”) or an adult (“The Stepford Wives”, “Beyond the Limits”, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “WandaVision” ). Based on these examples we can identify the trend of changing the view of the robot in modern American science fiction: from a subordinate role to an equal role, which allows us to consider it (or rather “them”) as a full-fledged member of the family. This may be a consequence of both the development of robotics and its widespread introduction to everyday life, and the refusal to consider the robot as an exclusively analogy to the “excluded” and discriminated groups; the trend towards greater inclusion in fiction, which, in turn, characterizes the general trend towards tolerance in American society. At the same time, it is worth noting the almost complete rejection of the interpretation of the robot as a threat specifically to the family (as, for example, in the film “Demon Seed”); the robot within the family has the right to make their own decisions, has all the rights given to a person, and isn’t perceived as an unknowable threat – in contrast, perhaps, to other situations of humans collision with robots (the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot).


  1. Yulia Khoroshevskaya

Rostov State Transport University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia

Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber as an Ancestor Myth

A distinctive feature of post-colonial science fiction is the combination and mixing of mythological, magical and scientific elements in the text, with the help of which the authors try not only to depict the most complete picture of the world in all its aspects, but also to explain the causes and consequences of ongoing events. Magic, myth, spirituality and religion do not contradict technology, but are just different ways to achieve the same dreams and goals. Myth, as a form of narration, tends to represent the archetypal or universal meaning of the story being told, so mythological structures are often used by authors in an attempt to create an intertextual dialogue between mythological and scientific pictures of the world.

Nalo Hopkinson’s Midnight Robber, on the one hand, tells the story of a girl Tan-Tan’s growing up, who was not lucky enough to be the daughter of perhaps the most immature and selfish people on the planet Toussaint. The external “ordinary” level of the novel consists of a series of turning points: a quarrel between Tan-Tan’s parents and the murder of a mother by a father, relocation to a prison planet, father’s rape of his daughter, murder of his father by his daughter, her escape and the birth of a child from an incestuous relationship. Another, mythological, dimension brings the narrative to the level of universal ontological structures, giving each event of the novel an archetypal meaning. Tan-Tan’s love for the carnival and the mask of the Robber Queen, which she wears as a child on Toussaint, leads to the fact that the girl first tries on her disguise, and then completely incarnates into this folklore character, becoming the heroine of magical stories. The stories themselves, as it turns out in the end of the novel, are told to Tan-Tan’s son by Granny Nanny, the almighty AI of the planet Toussaint, thus giving the narrative characteristics of the myth of the ancestors and the creation of the world.


  1. Anna Izvolenskaya

Independent Researcher

Moscow, Russia

Family Values in Margaret Atwood’s Brave New World of The Handmaid’s Tale: Text and Hulu TV Series

As Colette Tennant observed, Atwood’s protagonist Offred is one of those fictional characters that “escape the pages and take on a life of her own”. In the case of Offred the Handmaid (who took on the name “June” in the drama series) this journey became real thanks to the text dense in allusions and quotations. Family, one of the novel’s seminal ideas, is no less boldly extended and rethought in the Hulu series. Its importance is encoded in the 1984 novel’s very plot, since Gilead’s tyrannic regimes aims, for the sake of the common good, to destroy family as we know it, and totally deprive individuals of their rights and freedoms. The Gilead regime seeks to substitute “Household” for the traditional family, making women sacrifice their bodies, emotions and even loved ones for the sake of the Republic with its rapidly decreasing population. However, what is going on inside Offred’s and other women-turned-Handmaids’ souls (brilliantly shown in the film while merely implied in Atwoodian prose) only demonstrates the failed attempts of the regime to root out human bonds and inner freedom. So, it is from this philosophical perspective – the dialectics of the outward and the inward seen as falsity and truth – that we shall discuss “The Handmaid’s Tale” (and its Russian version) and its screen version by Hulu.


  1. Larisa Mikhaylova

Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Family Models in the Star Trek Universe

The universe of the Star Trek series is one of the most habitable on the US television screen, not only due to more than half a century of existence and development – the longest among American science fiction television series from the mid-1960s to the present, but also because we get acquainted there not just with individual characters, but with many families that arise and grow before our eyes. They always carried  some features one step ahead  compared to the time of the episodes’ release, simultaneously adding to the attractiveness of the depicted world. In the first cycle (TOS), only some romantic relationships are established on the Enterprise, specific families among the crew members are not depicted. But we learn that one of the main characters – Spock – is the fruit of an extraordinary union between the Vulcan Sarek and the Earth woman Amanda, and then we see this couple aboard the Enterprise. As the Universe expands, we get the opportunity to watch both the growing feelings and overcoming the tasks facing the family of several interracial and interspecies families: of the Betazoid empath adviser Deanna Troy and First Mate Ryker (TNG), the chief engineer of the Deep Space-9 station an Earthman of Irish roots Miles and a biologist of Japanese origin Keiko O’Brien (DS9), Voyager’s navigator Tom Paris from Earth and  half-Klingon chief engineer B’Elanna Torres (VOY), Klingon security chief Worf, and a Trill with a symbiote science officer Jadzia Dax (DS9), Vulcan First Mate T’Pol and chief engineer Charles Tucker (ENT). The above mentioned families  are just  among some of the leading characters. They overcome contradictions, and differences make their union stronger, in parallel with overcoming contradictions between civilizations of distant planets.

These families can be called variations of the nuclear family, but in addition to it, in the foreground we also see the development of single-parent families, where one of the parents perished, and the remaining parent brings a child up, and the audience witnesses his coming of age and becoming an independent creative person. These are- doctor. Beverly Crusher and her son Wesley Crusher (TNG), Space Station Chief Benjamin Sisko and his son Jake (DS9). Adoptive parents, Belarusians Rozhenko, raise the orphaned Klingon Worf from an early age, and then, until some time, his son Alexander Rozhenko. Spock’s parents are raising an orphan Michael Burnham, the protagonist of the Discovery series. Phlox, the Denobulan doctor from the Enterprise series, has a polyamorous marriage, as is customary in their culture – three husbands and three wives, as well as about thirty children in total. The new Star Trek cycles feature the queer families of science officer Paul Stamets and doctor Hugh Culber, as well as the non-binary Adira and Gray (DSC), with their story of love, death, search and rebirth akin to ancient legends. In the recent animated series The Lower Decks we observe the exploits of the Second Contact ship Cerritos captain Freeman and her rebellious daughter Mariner with the invisible but constant directing influence of the Starfleet spirit.  It can be argued, that social modeling at the family level carried out in the Star Trek universe is no less diverse and exciting than the study of psychological conflicts and the modeling of technological development.



Round table Imprints: Image of America and Image of Russia


December 3, Saturday   6.30 PM – 20.30 PM


  1. Irwin Weil

Northwestern University, Evanston, USA

Immigration and the American Families in Flux

One of the causes of flux in American Families is to be found in the realities of mass immigration. This has gone through many generations and will undoubtedly continue through the present and future. Let me present the records of one family whose history will illustrate the point.

The  19th Century Pater of one of the families was involved in the horse trading business in Alsace Lorraine, then Germany. Due to political unrest, he came to the USA and continued his profession until his Son experienced the effects of Henry Ford and his introduction of the horseless carriages which filled American highways and soon sent the horses to pastures.

One of his descendants became connected with a family from a very different background, whose members came from a Russia considerably changed by the Bolshevik Revolution. This family supported itself by engaging in the clothing business. A female from this group married the Grand Son of the above mentioned automobile dealers.

The resulting family produced academic specialists in two different fields: Classical Philosophy and Studies of Russian Language and Culture,  with specialists in the study and analysis of two widely separated cultures, dealing with China and Russia.

The present realities of mass immigration will undoubtedly produce the kind of changes which might be called “The Historical American Example of families in flux.


  1. Anna Kolotova

Shandong University, China

Wenshan Jia

Chapman University, USA

The Simultaneous Deterioration of the Global Images of US and Russia: Is it due to US-Russia Mutual Stigmatization or their Own Doing?

Since the collapse of the USSR, the Russia-US relations have experienced more downs than ups, resulting in worsened bilateral relations with each suffering from mutual aggressions and damaged global image. If the 1990s witnessed the “re-awakening” of Russia creating an opportunity to reestablish its international relations, the next decades demonstrate the specific steps to revive Russia’s global influence enjoyed in the Soviet Era. During the Cold War, the USA and the USSR represented two global poles and their competition is still echoing today.

Despite constant communication, Russia-US relations keep deteriorating. The fierce competition for spheres of influence while perpetuating the Cold War mentality contribute to portraying the opponent in negative light, and the world-scale events offer opportunities to do that in front of the whole world – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, even COVID-19. Additionally, Russia-US relations are “loop-structured”, each new US president talks about amending bilateral relations, later turning to accusations. The cycle repeats because it is difficult to move away from the general strategy of the USA foreign policy – the global primacy.

The self-branding impact depends on which perspectives to look at. Undoubtedly, Russia and the USA are in different categories: Russia is still establishing its image-building system, it is impossible to avoid mistakes while introducing it. The USA has already established its system, but has not prevented itself from making the mistakes as well.

Even if the self-portraying contributes to the global image, their images are mostly the outcome of the foreign policies and the ideologies behind it, each focusing on their traditional sphere of influence: the USA is mostly favored by the West while Russia is more positively presented in the East. Based on the above, it seems that it takes genuine multilateralism driven by an all-inclusive ideology practiced by a globally-minded nation-state, supernational or transnational entity to enjoy a positive global image.



  1. Sofia Kuzmina, Yakov Gordeyev

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department of Foreign Languages and Region Studies, Russia

Russian Ballet in the United States: history and perception 1916 – 1917

In the twentieth century, Russian ballet conquered Europe and made its way to the Americas. But if Europe liked Russian ballet, in America it was met with misunderstanding.  The problem of the report is the cultural clash between Diaghilev’s Russian ballet and the American public. Americans found it difficult to perceive the aesthetic part, while they clearly exaggerated the scandalous one.  Another difficulty was that in America the troupe’s dancers hoped to recoup expenses and make a profit. Some dancers refused to work and even went on strikes. American culture (including ballet culture) was perceived very ambiguously by Russian ballet dancers, but it certainly influenced them greatly.


  1. Alexander Ayton

St-Petersburg State University, Russia/USA

Unguided young Americans: Removal of Christian morality from educational texts and consequences for family cohesion

Christian morality was a prominent feature of 19th century American education and media. This is displayed in the most popular schoolhouse textbooks of their time, the McGuffey readers, as well as the most popular novel of its time, The Shepherd of the Hills, by Harold Bell Wright. Both featured strong Christian themes, the centrality of family, and encouraged good moral character. Their authors were Christians and concerned with perpetuating Christian American civilization.  Popenoe and Mintz document the change and decline of the American family unit, particularly starting in the 20th century. Although many factors can be named, the acculturation of the youth through the education system is often overlooked. Textbooks like the McGuffey readers fell out of use and Christian elements became less common in media in the 20th century as ideas spread by reformers like John Dewey began to remake American education. These educational changes contributed to the erosion of the importance and cohesiveness of American families. By rediscovering texts from American history, we can shed light on the traditional American values of honesty, obedience, thrift, and industry.