Jacob Emery, Ph.D.
Degree: Ph.D in Slavic, Harvard University, 2006.
Dissertation: “Stock Exchanges: Heredity, Identity, and Metaphor in Modernist Slavic Literature.”
Specialties/Research Interests: Russian, Balkan, and Scandinavian fiction; rhetoric and figure; critical theory; Marxism; anthropology; science fiction; metafiction; translation.
I have published stray articles on topics from Thomas Pynchon to Russo-Swedish literary relations, but I am primarily engaged in two extended inquiries into the intersection of fictional rhetoric and economic life. Both projects draw inspiration from the theory of figure—especially the ideas formulated within German Romanticism and the tradition stretching from Russian Formalism to deconstruction—and from the anthropological and Marxist approaches that attempt to correlate economic structures and cultural forms.
One of these lines of interest, which derives from my dissertation, examines a series of Russian and South Slavic novels in which parents and children mistake themselves for each other in mirrors. Besides showing how such scenes spell out principles of literary construction through metaphors of hereditary identity, I hope to demonstrate that the confusion of parents and children points to a continuity between the figural economies of texts and the social economy, which also renders people substitutable for one another in the reproduction of labor through successive generations.
The other project is an attempt to elaborate a materialist conception of the mise-en-abyme, or text within the text, as a mechanism by which we recognize the work of art as distinct from other kinds of work—that is, the larger work of economic production that frames the artwork, and which the artwork models in miniature.
In my time at Indiana, I have taught surveys of nineteenth-century Russian literature in translation, a graduate seminar that interrogates the often uncritically utilized categories of “prose” and “poetry,” a course on Eastern European cinema, and an Honors College seminar on the modernist novel. In the coming years I expect to offer a Nabokov seminar, a course on Russian science fiction, a unit dealing with various forms of fictional doubling (from cloned characters to narrative parallelisms), and a graduate course focusing on economic exchanges with the land of the dead.
In my previous position as lecturer in Harvard's Comparative Literature Department, my roster of courses included an introduction to literary theory; a course on the modernist novel in relation the theory of symbol and figure; a translation workshop; and a science fiction seminar.
- "Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky and Russia's Belated Modernism." Forthcoming in Iowa Review.
- “Figures Taken for Signs: Allegory, Symbol, Mise-en-abyme.” Forthcoming in Comparative Literature, Fall 2012.
- “Art Is Inoculation: The Infectious Imagination of Leo Tolstoy.” Russian Review, October 2011.
- "Art of the Industrial Trace." New Left Review, September-October 2011.
- “The Land of Milk and Money: Communal Kitchens and Collactaneous Kinship in the Soviet 1920s.” (M)Otherhood as Allegory, edited Lisa Bernstein and Pamela Goco. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholar's Press, 2009.
- “Kinship and Figure in Andrei Bely’s Petersburg.” PMLA, January 2008.
- “Repetition and Exchange in Legitimizing Empire: Konstantin Batiushkov’s Scandinavian Corpus.” Russian Review, October 2007.
- “Guides to Berlin.” Comparative Literature, Fall 2002.
- “Stalno prisustvo oca u njegovoj kosi.” (“The Persistence of the Father in his Hair.”) Rec (Belgrade), July 2002.
- “Notes on Shatsk as a Gogol Figure.” Pynchon Notes, Spring-Fall 2000-2001.
Office number: BH 515
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob Emery, Ph.D.
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
1020 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Ballantine Hall 502
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103