Modern Languages Professor, Dina Khapaeva, Mentioned in the NY Journal of Books Review
Dina Khapaeva, Ph.D., Professor of Russian and Director of the Russian Program in the School of Modern Languages, had her essay "The Russian Revolution 1917" published in the collective volume Revolutions: How They Changed History and What They Mean Today, ed. by Peter Furtado (Thames & Hudson, 2020) mentioned in the NY Journal of Books review among the best essays of the volume.
Khapaeva’s essay is focused on the paradoxes of 1917 Russian revolution.
"To this day, Marxists blame the crimes and violence of the Soviet regime on the peculiarity of Russian conditions – the country’s backwardness, its late abolition of slavery, its lack of democratic traditions, personality of its leaders, etc. However, the dictatorship of the proletariat had been part of Marxist thought from the very beginning. In 1848 Marx had insisted that “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” […] Paradigmatically, on 5 January 1879, Marx said: “No great movement has ever been inaugurated without bloodshed.” These words, repeated by Stalin, continue to inspire his contemporary Russian admirers. Despite the evidence to the contrary, there are constant attempts to dissociate Marxism from the Soviet experiment by claiming that excesses of violence during and after the Bolshevik revolution are “deviations” from true Marxism. And this is another paradox: the Bolsheviks, following Marx, used violence to establish the dictatorship but this very fidelity to the communist doctrine has given grounds to delegitimize their claims to Marxist heritage. [...] To conclude, one more paradox: Putin’s Russia still provokes sympathies among the political left in the US and more widely, as if the reflected light of Red October still sparkles on Kremlin’s walls. Some of Putin’s fellow-travelers keep seeing Russia as the cradle of left politics and the site of a progressive socialist experiment, or as a viable alternative to US imperialism, colonialism and capitalism. Paradoxically, they are not discouraged by the fact that Russia’s regime fears and despises revolutions and denounces its leader Lenin and the communist ideology, generates extreme social inequality by unprecedented corruption, and hallucinates about reconstructing the Russian empire.”
- Dina Khapaeva, Ph.D.
Dina Khapaeva, Ph.D. is Professor in the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research comprises Russian studies, death studies, cultural studies, historical memory and intellectual history. Dr. Khapaeva authored six monographs, including The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture (The University of Michigan Press, 2017 (Russian translation «Занимательная смерть: развлечения эпохи антигуманизма», The New Literary Observer, 2020), Nightmares: From Literary Experiments to Cultural Project (Brill, 2013), Portrait critique de la Russie: Essais sur la société gothique (Les éditions de Aube, 2012). Her books were reviewed by Cultural Critique, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Slavic Review, Slavic and East European Journal, The Russian Review, The Slavonic and East European Review, Journal of Russian Communications, The New Literary Observer, The Polish Review, among others. Her numerous articles have appeared in journals including Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Social Research, Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, Le Débat, Merkur, Social Sciences Information, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Russian Literature.
In 2016, she received an Invited Professorship at the Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.