Summary and Info
Ukraine’s ‘Orange Revolution’ and its aftermath exposed some of the deep political, social, and cultural rifts running through the former Soviet republic. This book explores the intersection of these divisions in Odessa, a Black Sea port in Ukraine that was once the Russian Empire’s southern window to Europe. Odessans view their city as a cosmopolitan place with close ties to Russia and the world despite the state’s attempt to generate feelings of national belonging. Odessans’ sense of place is cultivated in various urban spaces through the narration of histories that are both intimate and official, imperial and local, traumatic and nostalgic. In illuminating the interplay of history with competing senses of place and nation in Odessa, this study shows how nation-building policies interact with the legacies and memories of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.Exploring the tensions between local and national identities in a post-Soviet setting from the point of view of everyday life, Tanya Richardson argues that Odessans’ sense of their distinctiveness is characteristicof those living in borderland countries like Ukraine. At the same time she explores the many ways in which local conceptions of cosmopolitanism shaped and preserved the city’s identity within a newly formed state. Drawing on the existing literature and her own direct observations and experiences in settings such as history classes, markets, and walking groups, Richardson presents a unique work of urban ethnography that is both analytically sophisticated and methodologically innovative. A fascinating and richly detailed study, "Kaleidoscopic Odessa" will be of interest to anthropologists, Slavicists, sociologists, historians, urban planners, and general readers alike.
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