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Faculty Fellow

Leah Feldman

Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and in the College University of Chicago


Leah Feldman’s research focuses on empire, nationalism, and critical approaches to ethnicity, gender and sexuality from the vantage point of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Her first book, On the Threshold of Eurasia: Orientalism and Revolutionary Aesthetics in the Caucasus (Cornell 2018, winner of the Central Eurasian Studies Society Book Prize), exposes how the idea of a revolutionary Eurasia informed the interplay between Orientalist and anti-imperial discourses in Russian and Azeri poetry and prose. Her current work explores how affect and embodiment provide crucial theoretical registers for thinking about the collapse of the Soviet empire and rise of authoritarian ethnonationalism in the contemporary moment. To that end, her working monograph Feeling Collapse explores waning attachments to internationalist feelings amid the collapse of the Soviet empire and how performance art, film, and theater in the Caucasus and Central Asia during the 1980s and 1990s shaped alternative politics and publics. She is also co-editing the anthology Anticolonial Thought and is co-author, with artist collective Slavs and Tatars, of a forthcoming art book, Azbuka Strikes Back: An Anticolonial ABCs.

Featured Project

Costumes and Collapse illustration by Slavs and Tatars

Costumes and Collapse

2023 – 2026


After the “End of History”: Reassessing the Communist Collapse

Lenin heads in the trunk of a car.

After the “End of History”: Reassessing the Communist Collapse

This project catalyzed an interdisciplinary dialogue about the period of profound transformation following the collapse of Europe’s Communist regimes and helped forge a new narrative of its meaning.

When Europe’s Communist regimes collapsed between 1989 and 1991, most observers hailed the spread of economic prosperity and liberal democracy across the continent. One commentator even predicted that the Communist collapse would bring about the “end of history,” ushering in an era of global...

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