Current Research

Alec Brooke Portrait.jpg

Research Interests

My work assumes a deeply ontological focus, looking at Russian cinema and literature as storytelling practices thoroughly entwined with material practices. Though my training in Prague school semiotics and the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy of language continues to inform my work, my current research assumes a primarily New Materialist and Marxian framework.

Current Projects

Russian Literature of the Anthropocene

An edited special issue that collects the insights of Russian literature scholars on the Anthropocene, the geological epoch in which we now live, defined by man-made changes to global environments. Contributing scholars come from a variety of different research interests within Russian literature, including environmental, modernity, post-human, and anti-colonial studies.

A Century of Alienation: Russian Literature and Cinema for the Anthropocene

Beginning with the premise that the stories we tell about the land are essential to building relations with each other and the other-than-human, this book-length manuscript gleans insights into the past, present, and future of ecological relations from works of Russian fiction over the past century. Essential and new readings are offered from a radical ecocritical point of view that draws its theoretical foundations principally from Donna Haraway, Leanne Simpson, and Jason Moore. The book begins with Lydia Annibal-Zinovieva’s stories of girlhood and interspecies entanglements, and then assumes a geographical trajectory through the Anthropocene, beginning with the appropriation of the Aral Sea, then moving to Varlam Shalamov’s Kolyma and the tensions between work and its refusal there, and then going northward to the Northeast Passage as a seascape contested between Indigenous and nuclear ways of entangling with the sea. In the final two chapters, this journey through the Anthropocene and the Chthulucene takes a speculative turn across Imakpik (the ‘Bering Strait’) with Nabokov’s butterflies, and ultimately to Andrei Tarkovsky’s intervention against Kubrick’s 2001, insisting upon the enduring importance of social reproduction and our entanglement with the other-than-human as a mode of resistance that operates even in the cosmos. To be submitted to McGill-Queen’s University Press in fall 2019.

Future Project

Beginning in September 2020, I will begin a project on frogs, and how the current two-fold amphibian crisis, characterized by Pepe the Frog and a mass amphibian die-off precipitated by chytridiomycosis, begins in 1862 in the ponds surrounding St. Petersburg.