Posts tagged ASP OPEN
New Open Access Book: "Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008"

Now Available on ASP Open

Exemplary Bodies
Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008


Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008 explores the construction of the Jew’s physical and ontological body in Russian culture as represented in literature, film, and non-literary texts from the 1880s to the present. With the rise of the dominance of biological and racialist discourse in the 1880s, the depiction of Jewish characters in Russian literary and cultural productions underwent a significant change, as these cultural practices recast the Jew not only as an archetypal “exotic” and religious or class Other (as in Romanticism and realist writing), but as a biological Other whose acts, deeds, and thoughts were determined by racial differences. This Jew allegedly had physical and psychological characteristics that were genetically determined and that could not be changed by education, acculturation, conversion to Christianity, or change of social status. This stereotype has become a stable archetype that continues to operate in contemporary Russian society and culture.

New Open Access Book: "Crafting the 613 Commandments" by Albert D. Friedberg

Now available on ASP Open:

Crafting the 613 Commandments:
Maimonides on the Enumeration, Classification, and Formulation of the Scriptural Commandments


Rabbinic tradition has it that 613 commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, but it does not specify those included in the enumeration. Maimonides methodically and artfully crafts a list of 613 commandments in a work that serves as a prolegemenon to the Mishneh Torah, his monumental code of law. This book explores the surprising way Maimonides put this tradition to use and his possible rationale for using such a tradition. It also explores many of the philosophical and ethical ideas animating the composition of such a list. In the book's second half, Friedberg examines the manner by which Maimonides formulated positive commandments in the Mishneh Torah, leading him to suggest new dimensions in Maimonides' legal theory.

New Open Access Book: "Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration" by Richard Wortman

Now available on ASP Open:

Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration: Collected Articles on the Representation of Russian Monarchy


Series: Imperial Encounters in Russian History

Visual Texts, Ceremonial Texts, Texts of Exploration continues the work begun in Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule, which analyzed the interplay between the symbolic representations of Russian monarchs and the legal and institutional instruments of their rule. The articles in this volume examine the texts that, through various media, revealed the myths and scenarios conveying the goals and ideals the monarchy sought to elevate before the elite of the empire and, later, the public at large.

Russian monarchy inhabited a highly visual culture, comprising court ceremonials, parades, public festivities, and celebrations. It mobilized the arts through painting, prints, popular pictures (lubki), and even opera. This book examines that artistic culture, focusing on several aspects. Parts I and II analyze imagery and ceremony and their relation to the verbal texts that ascribed and defined their meanings. Part III details the way texts of exploration inspired the explorers who widened Russia’s engagement with the world. Parts IV and V address key texts of intellectual history and reflect on the scholarly and methodological influences on Wortman’s approach to history.


New Open Access Book: "Russian Monarchy" by Richard Wortman

Now available on ASP Open:

Russian Monarchy: Representation and Rule


Series: Imperial Encounters in Russian History

This volume from the author of Scenarios of Power explores the effect of the symbolic and mythical representations of the Russian imperial government on law, administrative practice, and concepts of national and imperial identities throughout centuries of monarchical rule. Richard Wortman demonstrates how the ideologies behind such representations shaped the thought patterns not only of the tsar and the imperial family but also of the Russian political and social elite. He characterizes the monarchy as an active agent in Russia’s political experience, one whose dominant role was resisting change until the inevitable collapse facing all absolute monarchies.


New Open Access Book: "Babel' in Context" by Efraim Sicher

Now available on ASP Open:

Babel' in Context: A Study in Cultural Identity


Series: Borderlines: Russian and East-European Jewish Studies

Isaak Babel (1894–1940) is arguably one of the greatest modern short story writers of the early twentieth century. Yet his life and work are shrouded in the mystery of who Babel was—an Odessa Jew who wrote in Russian, who came from one of the most vibrant centers of east European Jewish culture and all his life loved Yiddish and the stories of Sholom Aleichem.This is the first book in English to study the intertextuality of Babel’s work. It looks at Babel’s cultural identity as a case study in the contradictions and tensions of literary influence, personal loyalties, and ideological constraint. The complex and often ambivalent relations between the two cultures inevitably raise controversial issues that touch on the reception of Babel and other Jewish intellectuals in Russian literature, as well as the “Jewishness” of their work.

New Open Access Book: "Turn It and Turn It Again" edited by Jon A. Levisohn & Susan P. Fendrick

Now available on ASP Open: 

Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts


Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society

The study of classical Jewish texts is flourishing in day schools and adult education, synagogues and summer camps, universities and yeshivot. But serious inquiry into the practices and purposes of such study is far rarer. In this book, a diverse collection of empirical and conceptual studies illuminates particular aspects of the teaching of Bible and rabbinic literature to, and the learning of, children and adults. In addition to providing specific insights into the pedagogy of Jewish texts, these studies serve as models of what the disciplined study of pedagogy can look like. This book will be of interest to teachers of Jewish texts in all contexts, and will be particularly valuable for the professional development of Jewish educators.

New Open Access Book: "Charms of the Cynical Reason" by Mark Lipovetsky

Now available on ASP Open: 

Charms of the Cynical Reason: Tricksters in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture


The impetus for Charms of the Cynical Reason is the phenomenal and little-explored popularity of various tricksters flourishing in official and unofficial Soviet culture, as well as in the post-Soviet era. Mark Lipovetsky interprets this puzzling phenomenon through analysis of the most remarkable and fascinating literary and cinematic images of soviet and post-Soviet tricksters, including such “cultural idioms” as Ostap Bender, Buratino, Vasilii Tyorkin, Stierlitz, and others. Soviet tricksters present survival in a cynical, contradictory, and inadequate world, not as a necessity, but as a field for creativity, play, and freedom. Through an analysis of the representation of tricksters in Soviet and post-Soviet culture, Lipovetsky attempts to draw a virtual map of the soviet and post-Soviet cynical reason: to identify its symbols, discourses, and contradictions, and by these means its historical development from the 1920s to the 2000s.

New Open Access Book: "Exotic Moscow Under Western Eyes" by Irene Masing-Delic

Now available on ASP Open:

Exotic Moscow Under Western Eyes


Series: Cultural Revolutions: Russia in the Twentieth Century

This collection of essays on Turgenev, Goncharov, Conrad, Dostoevsky, Blok, Briusov, Gor’kii, Pasternak and Nabokov represents diverse voices but is also unified. One invariant is the recurring distinction between “culture” and “civilization” and the vision of Russia as the bearer of culture because it is “barbaric.” Another stance advocates the synthesis of “sense and sensibility” and the vision of “Apollo” and “Dionysus” creating a “civilized culture” together. Those voices that delight in the artificiality of civilization are complemented by those apprehensive of the dangers inherent in barbarism. This collection thus adds new perspectives to the much-debated opposition of vital Russia and a declining West, offering novel interpretations of classics from Oblomov to Lolita andThe Idiot to Doctor Zhivago.


New Open Access Book: "All the Same The Words Don't Go Away" by Caryl Emerson

Now Available on ASP Open:

All the Same The Words Don't Go Away
Essays on Authors, Heroes, Aesthetics, and Stage Adaptations from the Russian Tradition

with an introduction by David Bethea

Series: Studies in Russian and Slavic Literatures, Cultures and History; Ars Rossica

Twenty-five years of essays and reviews, linked loosely by three themes. First is the creative potential inherent in transposing classic literary texts into other genres of media (operatic, dramatic) and the responsibilities, if any, that govern the transposer, audience, and critic. The practice of transposition, however, gives rise to a creative conflict: is there a limit to the amount of ornamentation, pressure, or dilution to which the “mediated” word can be subject? Finally, the more polemical of the essays included here are structured on the Bakhtinian notion of co-existing “plausibilities” and points of view. What a carnival approach can uncover in Pushkin that might have surprised and even pleased the poet, what a libretto or play script brings out that the “true original” hides: here the work of the creator and the critic can overlap in thrilling ways that respect the competencies of each. The book includes an original preface written by David Bethea.