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UBC Theses and Dissertations

“Russia outside Russia” : transnational mobility, objects of migration, and discourses on the locus of culture amongst educated Russian migrants in Paris, Berlin, and New York Gan, Gregory


This dissertation examines transnational Russian migration between Moscow, Berlin, Paris, and New York. In conversation with forty-five first- and second-generation Russian intellectuals who relocated from Russia and the former Soviet Union, the researcher investigates transnational Russian identity through ethnographic, auto-ethnographic, and visual anthropology methods. Educated migrants from Russia who shared with the researcher a comparable epistemic universe and experiential perspective, and who were themselves experts on migration, discuss what it means to belong to global transnational diasporas, how they position themselves in historical contexts of migration, and what they hope to contribute to modern intellectual migrant narratives. The research traces how such narratives are created and reproduced both across space, using transcultural approaches across multiple fieldwork sites, and through time, through diachronic comparisons of historical records, memoir literature, and present-day ethnographic interviews. Different anthropological “voices”—autobiographical, auto-ethnographic, empirical, and multi-media—are used throughout the dissertation, highlighting the positioned, intersubjective, and “emplaced” nature of the researcher. Using visual anthropology research methods, the presentation and dissemination of this research also moves beyond the textual mode. Interviews with research participants, recorded and edited into short vignettes, became part of an interactive multi-media installation and online archive on the tangible and intangible places, objects, and memories of Russian transnational migration. Supplementary materials available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/68369

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