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Focus - Immagini d’Africa. La ricezione ceca e russa (XIX-inizio XX secolo) (a cura di Anita Frison)

V. 15 (2022): OBERIU / RI-OBERIU

Per un’antropologia di Puškin. L’incerta ‘linea del colore’ nella Russia tardo-imperiale



The article suggests that in the case of the Russian Empire, one should consider the ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ dimensions of the discourses centered on Africa and Blackness: the ‘outer’ dimension reflected and interacted with global scientific and ideological visions of the time, including racism. The inward-looking part of the same discourse operated with rather different color palette and idioms of otherness. The deployment of an ‘outer’ or an ‘inner’ perspective was situationally conditioned and contextual, which in any case destabilized the implied White-Black color line. This thesis is further developed in connection to the case of the greatest Russian poet, Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837), who was rediscovered by the turn-of-the-century Russian race scientists as both the ultimate Russian and the ultimate Russian Black. Mogilner argues that in the anthropology of Pushkin one can trace the intersection of the two sides of the same entangled yet still differentiated discourses of race, blackness, and Africa.