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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Footloose and Fancy Free: The Postcolonial Lithuanian Encounters Europe and the West

Violeta Kelertas.

An attempt will be made to gauge the degree of self-awareness, establish the newfound identity and its fragile yet bravura-like relationship to outsiders--they themselves and their space-- by examining novels from the 1990s written in a newly independent Lithuania, free from domination by the former Soviet Union. Postcolonial theory and psychoanalysis will be applied to the works of Zita Cepaite, Jurga Ivanauskaite, Ricardas Gavelis and Vladas Papievis, seeking to illuminate the play of superiority masking inferiority, acceptance vs rejection, the search for new values and meaning vs the return to traditional ways of thinking as a backlash and/or corrective to adoration of life on the other side. Is the postcolonial ready for cosmopolitanism? Does globalization include him or her? What has to change in the mentality of the receiver and the received before meeting on an equal footing can take place? These are questions that prose writers grapple with in the new reality that has opened before them like a beckoning vista with traps for the unwary.


Violeta Kelertas  (United States)
Endowed Chair of Lithuanian Studies
Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures
University of Illinois at Chicago

Author and editor of "Come into My Time": Lithuania in Prose Fiction 1970-1990, numerous articles on Lithuanian literature and individual authors. Preparing co-authored manuscript of 15 articles on Baltic Postcolonial Culture, forthcoming by Editions Rodopi. Former president of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, IREX and Fulbright scholar.

  • Postcolonialism
  • Lithuanian prose fiction

(30 min Conference Paper, English)