I'm Russian ... sorry : an examination of the Russian migrant experience through three generations of one family and their contemporaries over three continents

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2004
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis is a non-traditional PhD in a number of ways. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on historical and cultural theory. It employs a mix of genres to present a narrative about one stream of twentieth century migration: literary and auto/biographical, analytical and interpretive. It uses personal memoirs, interviews, and photographs - a large, but inevitably fragmented family archive due to the practicalities resulting from travels over space and time - in combination with traditional historical sources such as academic texts and official documents. Related lines of inquiry involve issues surrounding immigration and the uses of memory, oral history, and auto/biography as sources. It is centred on the experiences of my extended family, thus the personal intersects with the public in a story of historical entanglement in individual lives, and migration almost as a way of life. The range of sources and my relationship to the material suited a more literary mode of writing. Using this vehicle, I explored the impact of major events through unique family eyewitness accounts, some generated at the time, some later. It allowed for a range of individual expressions of the results of this impact over a period of nearly a hundred years and for an attempted dialogue between the present and the past. Along the way, there was also a dialogue with my own values, a questioning of how a legacy such as mine translated into current realities. The experiences of one family provided the opportunity to open a window on similar or parallel instances of the intertwining of history and private lives.
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