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SRAS NEWS  / 7 BOOKS FOR SUMMER READING
12.05.2010


7 Books for Summer Reading
On Translation, History, The Arctic, and More

The following are a handful of books that have recently come to our attention. Most have been recently published or updated and provide a wide range of interesting material.

Kyrgyz Kalpak by Richard Hewitt1. The Kyrgyz Kalpak
"The Kyrgyz Kalpak" is a colorful, short piece on the symbolism of Kyrgyzstan's nomadic hat aiming at finding the peak of religious unity and experience. Characters such as Central Asia's Al-Khidr (Kydyr) and Kyrgyzstan's epic hero Manas are included along with quotes from the Qur'an, Torah, Bible, and Kyrgyz folklore. The Kyrgyz Kalpak honors age-old tenants of the Silk Road's many religions while simultaneously weaving divided factions together.

2.  In Marx's Shadow
In Marx's Shadow: Knowledge, Power, and Intellectuals in Eastern Europe and Russia draws attention to the unknown and unexplored areas, trends and ways of thinking under the communist regime. It demonstrates how various bodies of knowledge (philosophical, social, political, aesthetic, even theological) were produced, disseminated and used for a wide variety of purposes: from openly justifying dominant political views to framing oppositional and non-official discourses and practices.

3. Ukrainian through its Living Culture
Placing language learning within a cultural framework enlivens the learning process and jumpstarts contextual conversations in the classroom. Experienced instructor Dr. Alla Nedashkivska has crafted a textbook that presents a modern version of Ukrainian, one that will encourage student interest in learning, with the goal of building proficiency in the language and knowledge of Ukrainian culture and society.

4. The Art of Literary Translation
Performing Without a Stage: The Art of Literary Translation is a lively and comprehensive introduction to the art of literary translation for readers of foreign fiction and poetry who wonder what it takes to translate, how the art of literary translation has changed over the centuries, what problems translators face in bringing foreign works into English, and how they go about solving these problems. It is based on extensive reading, on dozens of interviews with translators, and on the author's ten years of experience editing literary translations.

5. Politics of Russia
Highly regarded for its comprehensive coverage, up-to-date scholarship, and comparative framework, Politics in Russia is an authoritative overview of Russia’s contemporary political system and its recent evolution. Area specialist Thomas Remington focuses on four areas of change in this text–state structure, regime change, economic transformation, and identity–to offer a dynamic context for analyzing the post-Soviet era. With a consistent emphasis on the intersection of politics and economics and the tension between authoritarian and democratic trends, no other text guides students through the complexities and ambiguities of Russian politics today like Politics in Russia.

6. (Mis)interpreting Russian Policy in the High North (free!)
Climate change in the Arctic is expected to make the region a lot busier as new strategic resources are becoming available. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of Russian actions in the High North by providing a succinct overview of Russian policies in the region and identifying the fundamental rationale behind them. The paper concludes that Russia’s Arctic policy is not only a lot more nuanced but also not very different from the policies conducted by other riparian states.

7. The Foreign Policy of Russia
This book broadens the focus of Kennan's classic work and offer a sweeping yet concise overview of Russia's role and behavior in international politics. Much of their book serves as background for the authors' chief task: to explain and anticipate the current foreign policy aims of the leaders of the Russian republic. They find a consistent pursuit of balance-of-power politics and military alliances by Russian leaders from tsarist times to the present. Seven key variables are put forth to explain the changing directions of Soviet foreign policy within the framework of an "international system." They cautiously conclude that the current "multipolar" environment might lead to a more cooperative approach by Russia's current leaders.

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