Translation, memory, and an “aesthetics of care”

Twitchin, Mischa. 2023. 'Translation, memory, and an “aesthetics of care”'. In: Post-Socialist and Comparative Memory Studies (PoSoCoMeS) Conference. University of Tallinn, Estonia 20 - 23 September 2023. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Reflecting on the cultural politics of memory and an “aesthetics of care” (Mihai, 2022), my presentation explores echoes recalled – and, indeed, generated – in two recent plays by Russian-Estonian theatre maker, Julia Aug: Mum, is our cat Jewish too? and F*** the War [Х** войне]. Ukraine. Letters from the Front. Aug’s plays engage with “life stories” in multidirectional terms, translating questions of both “nationalities” and gender in post-Soviet memory space (Kirss, et al.: 2004), giving voice to histories long subject to “epistemic injustice” (Fricker, 2007). Relations between personal testimony and historical situatedness profoundly changed in the post-Soviet period (Hinrikus & Kõresaar, 2004), and the transnational and the “intranational” profoundly refract each other in Aug’s work. Drawing on Lotman (1990) – especially exploring dynamics of “theatricality” (2020 [1989]) for translating cultural memory – my discussion follows Pakier and Wawrzyniak’s caution that “individuals born and socialised in Eastern Europe” do not “remember in some ‘special’ ways in comparison to the rest of the world”, but rather “that there exists some specific set of discursive practices related to particular historical events that happened in this part of Europe” (2018: 15). Concerning such “discursive practices”, mediating past and present in post-Soviet cultural memory in the Baltics, the biographical in Aug’s plays can be read with Mihai’s suggestion that “it is via an analysis of these stories that we can both identify the bodies marked for exclusion from official mnemonic regimes and estimate the cost of those exclusions to present relationships and politics” (2022: 12).

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


20 September 2023Completed

Event Location:

University of Tallinn, Estonia

Date range:

20 - 23 September 2023

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Date Deposited:

22 Sep 2023 08:23

Last Modified:

22 Sep 2023 08:23


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