Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Dostoevsky's idea of Russianness: a decolonial critique

Fri31  Mar03:15pm(15 mins)
Hunter Hall


Sarah Hudspith1
1 University of Leeds, UK


This presentation is a critique of my 2004 monograph Dostoevsky and the Idea of Russianness. In my book I argued that Dostoevsky's fiction and non-fiction could be read through a lens of the philosophies of the Slavophiles Alexei Khomiakov and Ivan Kireevsky, thereby bringing into sharper focus the nature of Dostoevsky's concern with organic unity and brotherhood. The objective of this presentation is to provide a decolonial analysis of the aspects of Slavophilism that I applied in my study of Dostoevsky's worldview, and to problematize the concepts of unity and brotherhood which Dostoevsky allied with the nationalist notion of Russianness. In particular I will interrogate the categories of tsel’nost’ and sobornost’ in order to expose their imperialist inflections. By this exercise I aim to engage with urgent questions of responsibility in the scholarship of 19th Century Russian literature.