Soviet Postcolonial Studies. A View from the Western Borderlands

Epp Annus

London, New York: Routledge, 2018, 281 lk.

Postcolonial studies is a well-established academic field, rich in theory, but it is based mostly on postcolonial experiences in former West European colonial empires. This book takes a different approach, considering postcolonial theory in relation to the former Soviet bloc. It both applies existing postcolonial theory to this different setting, and also uses the experiences of former Soviet bloc countries to refine and advance theory. Drawing on a wide range of sources, and presenting insights and material of relevance to scholars in a wide range of subjects, the book explores topics such as Soviet colonality as co-constituted with Soviet modernity, the affective structure of identity-creation in national and imperial subjects, and the way in which cultural imaginaries and everyday materialities were formative of Soviet everyday experience.


Introduction: Colonialism in camouflage

1. Methodological theses about the Soviet empire

2. The location of knowledge: Soviet area studies facing the postcolonial question

3. Can a modern nation-state be colonized? Reformulating the framework of postcolonial studies

4. Modernity with a smiley face: Soviet modernity, Soviet coloniality

5. Colonial layers and hybridization of the past: layers of national modernity in the Baltics

6. From colonial fear to decolonizing laughter: deconstructing the colonial binarisms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘the colonizer’ and ‘the colonized’

7. Cultural imaginaries and everyday materialities: living in a Soviet home

Conclusion: Everyday dissensus and the end of empire